President Donald Trump came out with somewhat surprising support for former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and national anthem protester Colin Kaepernick while speaking to reporters Friday.
“In your view, Mr. President, should Colin Kaepernick get an opportunity to play in the NFL?” a reporter asked Trump.
“Only if he’s good enough,” Trump responded. “If he’s good enough. Why [wouldn’t] he play if he’s good enough?”
“I think if he was good enough, I know the owners, I know [New England Patriots owner] Bob Kraft, I know so many of the owners. If he’s good enough, they’d sign him. So if he’s good enough, I know these people. They would sign him in a heartbeat. They will do anything they can to win games.”
Reporter: Should Colin Kaepernick get an opportunity to play in the NFL?
Trump: “Only If he’s good enough. I know the owners, I know Bob Kraft. They will do anything they can to win games” pic.twitter.com/tTZHyL6oCH
— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) August 9, 2019
The president then went even further in his support for Kaepernick.
“Frankly, I’d love to see Kaepernick come in if he’s good enough,” Trump said. “But I don’t want to see him come in because somebody thinks it’s a good PR move. If he’s good enough, he will be in.”
With all due respect to the president, there’s plenty of reason for Kaepernick to not play even if he’s “good enough.”
Even for the biggest Kaepernick detractors, it’s hard not to say that the former 49er shouldn’t at least be a backup in terms of talent.
If you look at some of the league’s backup quarterbacks, such as the Arizona Cardinals’ Brett Hundley, the Chicago Bears’ Chase Daniel or the Los Angeles Raiders’ Mike Glennon, it’s hard to argue that Kaepernick isn’t just as talented as they are.
But talent is only part of the equation.
Look at the names of those backup quarterbacks again? They are virtual unknowns.
To borrow an old adage, backup quarterbacks should be seen and not heard. That would not be the case with the man who launched the divisive national anthem protests that took a big toll on the NFL’s television ratings.
Not only would Kaepernick draw a media circus, but there would be an unhealthy clamoring for him to play. And if Kaepernick didn’t play a meaningful snap, as most backup quarterbacks tend not to do? That would be its own can of worms.
Kaepernick became a lightning rod of criticism when he began kneeling for the national anthem as a form of protest in 2016. It sparked widespread controversy, with some applauding his stance and others finding it the ultimate form of disrespect.
Despite not having played a down of NFL football in years, Kaepernick claimed in a tweet Wednesday that he’s ready for another shot.
5am. 5 days a week. For 3 years. Still Ready. pic.twitter.com/AGczejA1rM
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) August 7, 2019
The NFL preseason officially got underway Thursday, with many teams debuting their shiny new rookies. Barring a rash of injuries, it’s hard to see which team would take the plunge on the polarizing Kaepernick for the upcoming NFL season.
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