Sunday, December 1, 2019


When the Minnesota Vikings take on the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night, it will wrap up Week 12 of the 2019-20 NFL season. That’s three-quarters of the way through the 16-game regular season, and Colin Kaepernick remains a quarterback in search of a team that will hire him.

That’s not likely to change and with good reason. No NFL team owner in his right mind would sign a malcontent and troublemaker like Mr. Kaepernick, who has an enormous ego and a chip on his shoulder to match.

That the onetime play-caller for the San Francisco 49ers has not been signed by any of the 32 NFL teams is a situation of his own making. Mr. Kaepernick has no one to blame but himself for being sidelined, literally and figuratively, the past couple of football seasons.

It all began in August 2016, when Mr. Kaepernick began alienating large swaths of football fandom with his now-infamous “Hey, look-at-me!” stunt of sitting (and later kneeling), rather than standing, during the national anthem. He insisted it wasn’t a show of disrespect for the flag or the country — a country where he earned millions of dollars — but rather as a protest of social injustice and alleged police brutality.

The public opinion backlash, joined by President Trump, was as swift as it was predictable because, while Mr. Kaepernick has every right to protest whatever he wants, he doesn’t have a right to do so whenever or wherever he wants. There’s a time and a place for everything, and a nationally televised professional football game was neither the time nor the place.

The word “grandstand” has been associated ever since with Mr. Kaepernick, both as a verb and a noun — a noun because that’s all he’s done for the past three seasons and a verb because that’s as close as he’s gotten to a huddle since.

He insists he’s being “blackballed” by team owners, but if true, who can blame them? In what other business would the owner hire an employee (regardless of how good he might be) as petulant and disruptive as Mr. Kaepernick? A team player, he’s not.

Inexplicably, Mr. Kaepernick’s biggest booster has been NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who repeatedly has sought to persuade team owners to take a chance on him. Mr. Goodell went so far as to have the NFL arrange what was described as “an unprecedented leaguewide tryout” for him.

The NFL invited scouts from all 32 teams to the Atlanta Falcons’ training camp 45 miles northeast of Atlanta on Nov. 16 to watch Mr. Kaepernick work out. Representatives of 25 teams dutifully showed up.

If you thought Mr. Kaepernick would’ve been appreciative of the extraordinary efforts made on his behalf, you’d be mistaken. He questioned the league’s motives, and in an appalling show of ingratitude Mr. Kaepernick and his entourage decided, less than a half-hour before what was supposed to be the 3 p.m. start of the tryout, to move it to another location, a high school field 57 miles down Interstate 85.

It was akin to a job applicant demanding the interview be held at a location of his choosing. Still, a handful of teams actually went those extra miles to watch Mr. Kaepernick throw 60-odd passes. As of this writing, however, no team has extended him a contract offer — not even teams desperately in need of help, such as the Washington Redskins (3 wins, 9 losses) or the Cincinnati Bengals (1 win, 11 losses).

But don’t cry for Mr. Kaepernick, Argentina. He has hardly been without income or living hand-to-mouth. He settled a collusion grievance against the NFL and its teams in February for an undisclosed amount, and he has an endorsement deal with the shoe-and-apparel maker Nike. Nike in July disgracefully discontinued a line of sneakers it had just introduced featuring the Betsy Ross flag after Mr. Kaepernick told the shoemaker he found it offensive, claiming baselessly that the flag was associated with slavery. (What does it say about Nike that it would lavish millions on a pariah like Kaepernick when there are countless other, more-deserving NFL stars without endorsement deals?)

Mr. Kaepernick should be banished to the obscurity he so richly deserves. But if he genuinely wants to play pro football again (as opposed to just saying so, for continued self-promotion purposes), there’s always the newly resurrected XFL, which is preparing for its first season since 2001 and kicks off in February after the Super Bowl.

The XFL is owned by another shameless showboat, WWE pro wrestling magnate Vince McMahon. The two deserve one another.

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