Okay, now I have two long drafts of posts about gun issues, both of them not as focused as would be hoped for. What is happening is that I am deeply irritated by some public comments which come my way even though I try to avoid them,and I am trying to fit that into more measured and helpful observations. Prediction: you probably won't get measured and helpful observations here.
In the meantime, Colin Kaepernick has gotten a workout with the Raiders, and everyone is all atwitter about that. I try to reduce messy-looking controversies to simpler formulations in hopes of ignoring the distractions and seeing clearly what is happening.
Kaepernick believes that he was, and still is, a very good quarterback that did not fit the traditional pro football mold but proved himself when given a chance to play. He has a very good point there. He was a running QB when that was still considered the wrong way to do things. Teams wanted Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, to stay in the pocket and just pass accurately. Running was only a surprise move, almost a trick play. Cam Newton came out of college the same year and despite being the first pick, had many doubters because of his running style. Both did well on the field, Newton much better. Newton came out of Auburn, Kaep Nevada, so that gave him less cachet, and benefit of the doubt as well. But Kaep was just a bit ahead of his time. He was Josh Allen before Josh Allen. So his road was harder, and that's an unfairness in his life. If 2011 Kaepernick were coming up now, he would be more desirable. Not his fault. But not anything racist or anyone else's fault either. The game changes. He was early. Life is unfair sometimes.
He was pretty good, but streaky. He did win a playoff game against the Packers and Aaron Rodgers - that's worth something - but also went 1-10 his last year as a starter. He moved into that borderland between being a legit starter, maybe more in the right situation, versus being a top backup. Lots of top backups resent their lot, not unreasonably, knowing that they are better than at least a few of the starters for some team or another. But there are only a few ways of being a backup, and if you aren't one of those, your market is depressed. You can be the new young QB who is being prepared to be the starter. That has evolved over the years, but it's a recognisable slot. Or you can be a guy who is very similar in style to the starter to cover if he gets injured. Or you can be someone of recognisable talent, perhaps a veteran at the end of his career, who can come in if everything is falling apart. With all three of those possibilities, you can make yourself more valuable by being a good guy in the QB room or with the clipboard on the sideline, trying to help the team even if it temporarily makes your case worse. Mentoring the third-string QB. Making suggestions during film sessions. Encouraging the guys whose job you are competing for anyway. While those are not absolute requirements for the job of backup, they are important.
Colin Kaepernick does not bring that extra, never has. He's not the clipboard guy, not the QB room guy. This got even worse when he decided to become politically controversial. He thought his cause more important than helping the team - well, he is free to think that and we all have a cause we think the same about somewhere - but teams don't want extra controversy. It's a distraction. Some teams will put up with it. I thought he might be a good backup for Russell Wilson having similar style and a Seattle team not uncomfortable with his politics. But I can't think of too many other places that would want him. Controversy is expensive, and he brought no extras.
His girlfriend has convinced him that this is all because of racism. I won't say that is impossible, but think a distinction between "racism" and "approach to racial politics" is much clearer. He was already on the edge, he undermined his own value. I hear he is still pretty good, but no one is oohing and aahing. You listen to him and know he will go to his grave believing he was blackballed because of his political beliefs. It's an entertainment business, he likely has a point. But it's only 10% of the point he thinks it is. A few NFL players are politically controversial and it doesn't seem to cost them their jobs. No team wants a celebrity backup. Think Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel, now Baker Mayfield, Cam Newton.
There. Solved it for ya.