Why is Colin Kaepernick not in the NFL?

Former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick
Former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick is still in the prime of his life and yet he does not have a team to play for in the NFL. With the recent story of Jon Gruden's email fresh in everyone's minds, it is worth revisiting why Colin Kaepernick stands blackballed from the NFL.

Colin Kaepernick: A stand against police brutality

Colin Kaepernick took a stand, by sitting, during the national anthem in the 2016 preseason to protest against racial injustice and police brutality. During the regular season, after discussing with a green beret who felt it was disrespectful to the anthem and those who had served for the country, he began kneeling instead of sitting.

In 2016, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem to draw attention to incidents of black people being killed by the police.Former Green Beret Nate Boyer spoke with Kaepernick, who then decided to kneel instead. #todayinhistory

But the compromise Colin Kaepernick had reached was still not good enough for many who felt that he should be standing during the national anthem. It became a point of sore contention and came to a head in 2017, when then-President Donald Trump called anyone who kneeled during the national anthem a "son of a bitch."

Before the 2017 season, Colin Kaepernick's contract was not renewed by the San Francisco 49ers ostensibly because new coach Kyle Shanahan felt that he would not fit in his offense. He spent the entire offseason not being signed by anyone and filed a grievance against the league for colluding to not sign him.

That grievance was later withdrawn after a confidential settlement in 2019. Colin Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since.

Colin Kaepernick's chances of return to the NFL

With more than four missed seasons, does Colin Kaepernick now have a chance to return to the NFL? Those who have met him recently say the fire still burns alive in him.

“I am still up at 5 a.m. training five, six days a week making sure I’m prepared to take a team to a Super Bowl again. That’s not something I will ever let go of” - Colin Kaepernick for…

But perhaps what can give him the best chance of being accepted back by the NFL is the fact that the national understanding of what he was protesting against has changed. The USA went through a moment of reckoning when George Floyd was murdered by a police officer. It showed a lot of people in the country what Colin Kaepernick was about; that his protest was meant to raise the issue of racial disparity in policing and not to discrespect the national anthem.

And most recently, during the investigation into the Washington Football Team, it was found that a senior executive of the team and Jon Gruden were exchanging emails that called for banning those who protested during the national anthem. It was proof that sentiments other than sporting merit existed in the NFL that could have stopped Colin Kaepernick from playing football in the league again.

Also Read: Who are Colin Kaepernick's parents?

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Edited by Samuel Green