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NFL Teams Putting Politics Above Football

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CHARLOTTE, NC – SEPTEMBER 18: Eric Reid #35 and Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel on the sideline, during the anthem, prior to the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers defeated the 49ers 46-27. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

It has long been blindingly obvious that Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have a job for political reasons. But Week 1 really drew a line under it:

But after Sunday’s NFL action, if you claim that Kaepernick does not belong in the NFL because he is not good enough, doesn’t fit any offenses, has mechanical flaws or some other “football reasons,” you are waist-deep in cow manure.

[Click through to read amusing descriptions of many abysmal performances by dreadful QBs]

These quarterbacks stink. Their backups, Watson (and maybe Brissett) excepted, are worse. Kaepernick could have led a Jets or Texans victory, kept the Niners competitive and gave the Jaguars hope against an opponent that wasn’t beating itself. He might have even made Chuck Pagano and the Colts look like they knew what they were doing.

You can believe the anonymous coaches and executives with their steaming piles of “football reasons” if you like. Watch the tape: Tolzien has no NFL attributes whatsoever, Savage is a mannequin and McCown is going to get himself killed. Anyone who thinks Kaepernick could not help the teams mentioned above and others (the Browns and Bears as a starter, half the league as a backup) win games is either not watching football, not thinking for themselves or just lying because they don’t want to “get political.”

Several teams played ugly, terrible football Sunday because their management wanted to make a political statement, or avoid one, or fears a boycott or a protest in the parking lot or just doesn’t like that troublemaker who started all of this “anthem protest” business.

Maybe you are fine with that. Maybe it really does make good business sense to stink to high heaven instead of ticking off some season-ticket holders or the local police union.

But there is no good football reason for it. Zero. Zilch. And pretending there is just insults everyone’s intelligence.

Let’s review. In 2012, Kapernick was one pass away from winning a Super Bowl, throwing for 10.8 Y/A with one INT. In 2013, his first full season, he finished 7th in DVOA and was one pass away from beating one of the best defenses in NFL history in the NFC Championship gmae (and that pass, it should be noted, was a call by Harbaugh and Roman, with plenty of time on the clock and two timeouts, to challenge a Hall of Fame corner with a solid-but-far-from-elite receiver running an unimaginative route in the end zone). Do I think he’s as good as he looked in 2012 and 2013? Obviously not. Is he capable of better play than he showed in 2016? Almost certainly. Is he better than a significant number of QBs who started games yesterday, in some cases for teams with playoff pretensions? Of course. He’s being blackballed, end of story, and it’s embarrassing for the NFL.

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