BOMAN: Colin Kaepernick To The Jets Is The Failure We NEED To Happen
After seven seasons away from the NFL, some fans still hold on to the pipe dream that Colin Kaepernick is an avenging angel
Dear New York Jets… At this point? You might as well sign Colin Kaepernick. After all, your best-laid plans have gone the way of an Achilles injury to your short-lived golden boy, and word around the NFL is that you aren’t too hot on Zach Wilson anyway. So, why not do us all a favor and hire The Kneeler? If nothing else – give us the fodder for entertainment his attempted comeback would provide.
As seems to be an annual tradition, another starting quarterback has gone down with an injury, and certain living-in-the-past pundits feel the need to resurrect Kaepernick’s long-dead career.
Ah, the beauty of social media… It’s the one place where clever prose outweighs common practicality every time.
While Kaepernick has been crucified in many ways for taking a stand, he’s also had no shortage of supporters. And for good reason. Ever since he took the stance (either brave or stupid, depending on one’s perspective) to ‘take one’ during the playing of our nation’s sacred song, it’s been a mixed bag. On one side, traditionalists look at him as a troublemaker and an attention whore. Meanwhile, his supporters view him as a hero who took a stand against an injustice that was as plain as the nose on your face.
When Kap told the world, “If they take football away, my endorsements from me,” he said, “I know that I stood up for what is right.” That meant something to people who have been oppressed – to those who have truly been victims of police violence. And it made him a hero to those who felt he was speaking for him.
But many other fans and observers felt as if Colin Kaepernick was merely latching his wagon to a cause, and others felt it was a bit presumptuous of him to deputize as a spokesman for a race of people. Needless to say, his stand became too polarizing for even the NFL environment – one where convicted criminals are routinely welcomed with open arms thanks to their talent.
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Now out of the NFL for seven years and almost on the fringe of nothing, his name surfaces once again. This time, in the face of the newsworthy happenings surrounding the Aaron Rodgers injury. And once again? The impossible dream that Kaepernick will someday return to the League, play great, redeem himself, and prove his detractors wrong again rears its head. Like there will be some kind of Disney ending to this horror movie. A climax that reality settled long ago, even if they don’t realize it.
To be an elite player in the NFL, you have to be committed – first and foremost – to being the very best player or contributor you can be. The perception of Colin Kaepernick is that being an athlete has become secondary to being an advocate has also hurt him when it comes to the cold-hearted world of professional football.
At the end of the day? Those who wish for Kaepernick to ride back into the NFL on his socially conscious horse and right the wrongs of the NFL are only deluding themselves. Their dreams can be met with the harsh reality that they would be betting on an aging player, embattled by controversy, who didn’t even have much of a track record. In fact? In the harsh world of pro football, many could argue that he’s merely a crybaby, looking for excuses as to why he was never truly elite.
Hope and hype are what got the Jets in this situation in the first place. Bringing in Colin Kaepernick would only be seen as a final effort to cement their legacy of futility. That’s why the Jets could mercifully end this whole discussion. Bring him in, let him flounder, and finally end the debate that he can be a viable replacement for Aaron Rodgers. Or anyone, for that matter.
Sign Kap. Let him fail. And then hopefully? We can finally let him fade into the obscurity that he has earned.
Ryan Boman is the author of the 2023 book, Pop Music & Peanut Butter: A Collection of Essays about Embracing Life with Laughter & Love. Follow him on social media @RyanKBoman