Kaepernick Likened NFL to Plantation, Draft to Slave Auction - He Still Wants to Play in It, Though


On Sunday, a seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback announced he was unretiring and putting on a jersey again.

Also on Sunday, a quarterback who bombed out of the league in 2016 and hasn’t played a game in over five years announced he was looking for receivers to work out with for a possible comeback.

Twitter seemed to think both were equally important.

Perhaps they were. Sure, Tom Brady’s return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2022 is likely to have a more substantive impact on the league, but Colin Kaepernick’s tweet for “professional route runners” to work out with him might end up having more of a cultural impact.

After all, in his Netflix special released last autumn, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback compared the NFL’s draft — and the pre-draft workouts known as the combine — to a slave auction. The league, if the metaphor holds, is therefore a plantation, albeit a well-remunerated one.

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But Kaepernick still wants to play in the NFL after all these years.

(The double standard is astounding — and yet the left holds him up as the athletic conscience of an entire sport, if not sports itself. We’ve been documenting Kaepernick’s hypocrisy since the beginning here at The Western Journal, and we’ll continue to do it. You can help us by subscribing.)

The quarterback-turned-activist first drew attention to his latest comeback attempt when he posted this video on Thursday:

ESPN’s Adam Schefter quoted a source who said Kaepernick was “in the best shape of his life. He wants to play. He’s ready [to] play. He would be a great fit for teams with QB vacancies to fill who want to win a Super Bowl.”

On Sunday, Kaepernick sent out another tweet advertising his services.

“For The past 5 years I’ve been working out and staying ready in case an opportunity to play presented itself. I’m really grateful to my trainer, who I’ve been throwing to all this time. But man, do I miss throwing to professional route runners,” he tweeted.

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“Who’s working?? I will pull up.”

Let’s think back to last October, when Kaepernick’s Netflix special, “Colin in Black and White,” aired. This is how he described the NFL draft combine:

“What they don’t want you to understand is what’s being established is a power dynamic,” Kaepernick said.

“Before they put you on the field, teams poke, prod and examine you searching for any defect that might affect your performance. No boundary respect. No dignity left intact.”

Then the draft prospects morphed into slaves, because of course they did.

So the slaves are sold off to plantations, if we follow this. The plantations then use the slaves as unpaid lab — actually, no, wait, they’re pretty well-paid. Also, they can walk away whenever they want. And they’re famous.

And Kaepernick now wants back in on this.

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There were two schools of reactions to this from Serious Bluecheckmark-dom, neither of which was spontaneous laughter.

The first school is best exemplified by Joe Biden fundraiser/liberal super-tweeter Jon Cooper. He didn’t particularly care about whether Tom Brady or Kaepernick was more equipped to play in the league. Rather, which one is more equipped to support his worldview?

The second is sports reporters pretending that five seasons away from the game won’t have hurt him a bit.

Here’s ESPN’s Mina Kimes, proposing the Seattle Seahawks — who just traded away starting QB Russell Wilson — look at Kaepernick.

Reality is apparently “meme-driven misinformation” when it comes to Kaepernick’s chances of getting back into the league. The only thing that’s been keeping him out this entire time is the fact he was the first big-name player to kneel during the national anthem back in 2016. That’s it.

It never factors into the equation that Kaepernick’s status as the face of anthem-kneeling came after several years of declining play, mind you.

The majority of Kaepernick’s success came in his first two years as a starter with the 49ers, 2012 and 2013. According to Pro Football Reference, he was 17-6 during these years and reached the Super Bowl and the NFC championship game, respectively.

Between 2014 and 2016, he was 11-24 as a starter and didn’t go to the playoffs once.

Nor does it factor in that Kaepernick became the sainted face of professional athletics in the turbulent summer of George Floyd’s death — and arguably even before that.

He won. Period.

He’s changed the face of sports so thoroughly that, just a few years on, athletes are lambasted for standing for the national anthem. And, in the fiery but mostly peaceful summer of our discontent, signing Kaepernick would have been the ultimate statement of wokeness allyship in a league where owners and officials were tripping over one another to seem more enlightened than the next guy.

In the summer of 2020, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell did everything but publicly beg individual teams to sign him. Brett Favre — who endorsed Donald Trump for president that same year — infuriatingly compared Kaepernick’s bravery to that of Pat Tillman, the former NFL player who left the league to serve as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan and died in combat.

Teams with quarterback vacancies — or even the slightest whiff of a controversy — were pilloried for not signing Kaepernick yesterday, and not handing him the starting job, and not retiring his number before he played a game.

The fact he’s still a professional activist and not an activist with a side gig as a football player should tell everyone why he isn’t in the league, and it’s not reactionary politics or institutional racism.

But, behold, Kaepernick wants back in. Again. And if an NFL team doesn’t sign him, We Know Why That Is™.

Sure, he might have likened the whole enterprise to slavery. But don’t the plantation owners have some decency?

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture