Colin Kaepernick is still without a team for the upcoming NFL season.
USA TODAY Sports
Colin Kaepernick is still a quarterback without a job, but there apparently are still teams in the NFL that are curious about his prospects.
Harry Edwards, the renowned sociologist who has been an adviser to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, told USA TODAY Sports that three teams have contacted him about Kaepernick since the free agency period opened in March.
This, amid speculation that Kaepernick, 29, is being blackballed after igniting a movement last season when he protested police brutality and racial inequalities by refusing to stand for the national anthem.
“They’ve asked, ‘Can he play? Does he want to play?’ “ Edwards said. “The last question I can’t answer. The first question, absolutely. If Kaep makes up his mind, he wouldn’t only go in and make a team, he’d put pressure on somebody to start.”
It is certainly baffling, from a football sense, that a man with a Super Bowl start on his resume hasn’t been offered as much as a backup slot in a league with a dearth of quarterback talent. Even Blaine Gabbert, who was benched last season when Kaepernick returned to the starting lineup, has a new job. Gabbert signed with the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday.
Kaepernick, meanwhile, hasn’t been publicly linked to any team. Although Kaepernick has been seen publicly while engaged in some charity causes during the offseason, he hasn’t commented on his football prospects. Edwards, also a consultant to the 49ers, wouldn’t reveal which teams contacted him and said that he hasn’t spoken to Kaepernick since he opted out of his San Francisco contract.
Is Kaepernick’s lack of opportunity essentially backlash for his protests?
“I don’t think there’s any question that there are some owners who wouldn’t have him in the league, much less on their team,” Edwards said. “But I fully expect one (team to sign him), because it’s in the best interest of the league to have him on a team.
“You can’t have a league that’s approaching 80% black, and then say it you stand up and say anything relevant to these issues – especially in the age of (President) Trump – this is what happens to you. You can’t do that. You can’t just up and write off black protests as if this were 1950.”
In March, ESPN reported that Kaepernick would resume standing for the anthem. Yet that apparently hardly moved the needle on his market appeal.
If he doesn’t wind up with a team, Edwards suggests that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell find a position for Kaepernick at league headquarters.
“I want to hear what he thinks and what he has to say about what’s going on in the league,” Edwards said.
Of course, the best-case scenario is to hear from Kaepernick while he also has the chance to demonstrate that he can still play in the NFL, too.
Follow Jarrett Bell on Twitter @JarrettBell.
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