The five most covered free agents in 21st century sports are: 1. LeBron James (twice) 2. Peyton Manning 3. Bret Favre 4. Kevin Durant and…5. Colin Kaepernick. The first four men are first ballot hall of famers in the NFL and the NBA who all immediately changed title odds to a massive degree when they joined new teams. James brought titles to Miami and Cleveland, Manning took the Broncos to two Super Bowls, winning one, Kevin Durant may well help the Warriors reclaim the crown this year and Bret Favre nearly took the Minnesota Vikings to the Super Bowl as well. The fevered coverage of all four of these men during their free agencies was directly attributable to their football and basketball talents.
The fifth is Colin Kaepernick, who, even if he were signed tomorrow, may not take a snap in an NFL game this fall. In the entire history of sports free agency, no one has ever been covered more who mattered less than Colin Kaepernick.
So how did this happen? How did a guy who was beaten out by Blaine freaking Gabbert in the offseason last year and elected to leave the San Francisco 49ers of his own volition this past spring after going 1-10 on the football field as a starter, become the biggest story in the NFL offseason? How are the three biggest football free agents in the 21st century now Manning, Favre and Kaepernick and how has Kaepernick now received more media attention as a free agent than either Manning or Favre did? And what does the sports media attention to Kaepernick tell us about the degree to which sports in 2017 have been overrun by political considerations?
Let’s discuss all of these questions below.
But first, let’s begin here: it is indisputable that the fevered media coverage of LeBron, Manning, Durant, and Favre during their free agencies was about first ballot hall of famers pursuing championships. While you may have thought helicopters following Peyton Manning on his team visits, flight tracking of Bret Favre as he came out of retirement, the decision spectacle of LeBron James heading to Miami followed by his open letter on his return to Cleveland, and Durant’s July 4th announcement that he was joining the Warriors after years of speculation about what he would do in free agency, all represented overcovered free agent stories, the impact on the field and court of these four men justified every moment of breathless commentary they received. These were massive free agent sports stories. The same was also true, by the way, of prior free agents in sports who received breathless media coverage, whether it was Reggie White, Shaquille O’Neal, Barry Bonds, or Deion Sanders, all four of these guys altered the championship trajectory of their respective sports as well.
None of that’s the case with Colin Kaepernick or the media coverage surrounding his free agency.
The fevered coverage of Colin Kaepernick is about biased left wing sports media, 96% of whom voted against Donald Trump in the 2016 election, blatantly rooting for Kaepernick to be signed and calling out the NFL, NFL teams, and NFL personnel for the fact that he remains unsigned. Unlike LeBron, Manning, Favre and Durant, the team that eventually signs Kaepernick will hope that he never takes the field for a single snap. This isn’t about sports on the field at all, it’s about the left wing sports media using Kaepernick to advance their own political beliefs.
Indeed by the time Kaepernick signs with a team it’s possible that only LeBron James will have received more media coverage of his free agency than Kaepernick. And just about every article you will have read or Tweet you will have seen from someone in sports media will have been praising Kaepernick and ripping the NFL for not signing him. It isn’t just that Kaepernick’s free agency isn’t a story deserving of the attention it receives, it’s that just about all of this media attention will be pro-Kaepernick.
The sports media has completely abandoned the notion of objectivity in reporting when it comes to Kaepernick.
Now I don’t have a problem with politics intersecting with sports — I frequently write about both from a radical moderate perspective that is neither left nor right wing in its perspective — what I have a problem with is sports intersecting with only left wing politics. Which is why this will probably be the only column you see calling out the left wing sports media for their obsession with Kaepernick’s free agency. Never have we seen so many in the sports media cast off all pretensions of objectivity in favor of rabid rooting and endorsement of Kaepernick.
If you doubt my thesis about the left wing sports media falling all over themselves to praise Kaepernick, go search Kaepernick’s name with any other free agent quarterback who has been signed this offseason, most recently Ryan Fitzpatrick. The liberal sports media is on their knees begging teams to sign Kaepernick and excoriating the league for his continued unemployment. With every free agent quarterback signing, the same left wing voices rise up on social media and spout their same left wing pablum, it’s virtue signaling brought to the football field, political battles being fought on the gridiron. There is no athlete that has ever mattered less and been covered more than Colin Kaepernick. How bad is it? Colin Kaepernick makes the NFL coverage of Tim Tebow, another running quarterback who NFL defenses figured out, look downright spartan.
The simple truth is this: Colin Kaepernick isn’t a free agent because he protested the national anthem last fall, he’s a free agent because he protested the national anthem last fall and he isn’t a very good quarterback. If Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, or Drew Brees took a knee during the national anthem and became free agents, every NFL team would line up and make an offer for their services. That’s because Super Bowl winning quarterbacks at the peak of their quarterbacking abilities are rare.
Hell, Aaron Rodgers could take a knee protesting America’s treatment of ISIS and someone would still sign him. Do you know why? Because Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in football. If your favorite team signed Rodgers after he protested America’s treatment of ISIS, you’d be sitting at the local bar saying, “You know what, I hate ISIS, but I like winning football games. I don’t give a damn what Rodgers says if he throws five touchdown passes on Sunday!”
This isn’t unique to football, by the way, this is how America works. So long as your talents exceed your problems you will always be employed. There’s a reason Johnny Depp can flake out during the filming of the most recent “Pirates of the Caribbean,” it’s because no one else can play Captain Jack Sparrow like him. Same with Robert Downey, Jr. playing Tony Stark in “Iron Man.” Hell, Michael Jackson probably molested a bunch of kids and most people overlooked it because he made “Thriller” and no one else could moonwalk like him.
And it’s not just celebrities either, look at your own businesses, the guy or girl who sells the most houses can get away with a ton more than the person who sells the 35th most houses. I knew a named partner in a law firm who got caught banging his secretary on the conference room table over the weekend. Guess what? He was at work on Monday. You know why? Because the law firm would have collapsed without him.
You may not like it, but this is how capitalism works, the rules are different for the people who are the best at what they do. And unfortunately for him, Kaepernick’s not very good at what he does. In the past two seasons Colin Kaepernick has completed less than 60% of his passes and gone 3-16 as a starting NFL quarterback. At 29 years old, Kap’s gotten worse every year since 2013, his first full year playing quarterback in the NFL. This suggests NFL defenses have figured out that if you keep Kaepernick from running, he can’t beat you from the pocket. He’s not as fast as he used to be and he’s taken a lot of big hits over the years. Being a running quarterback approaching 30 years old is not a good recipe for success when every NFL quarterback with long term success has had to demonstrate he can win passing the football from the pocket.
No one gave a damn about what LeBron, Durant, Manning or Favre, the four biggest sports free agents in the 21st century, thought about politics because they all made it more likely that their new team would win a championship. Colin Kaepernick isn’t unemployed because he took a knee during the national anthem, he’s unemployed because he took a knee during the national anthem and isn’t good enough at football for owners, GMs or coaches to overlook his political beliefs and the negative attention they bring to a team, a city and a state. Put simply, Kaepernick is still a football free agent because his problems exceed his talents.
This is not complicated to understand. Most NFL teams have thus far decided they don’t need the distraction that would come from a back-up quarterback like Kaepernick. NFL teams want back-up quarterbacks to be like children in the 19th century, they want them to be seen, but not heard.
So why can’t the left wing, liberal sports media caping for Kaepernick just understand that?
Because the liberal sports media doesn’t cover sports stories any more; sports are an opportunity for many “journalists” to advocate for own their left wing political opinions through the world of sports. That’s the only way to explain how Kaepernick is one of the five most covered free agents in the 21st century.
So far there are three quarterbacks who started games in 2016, haven’t retired, and remained unsigned: Kaepernick, Shaun Hill, and Robert Griffin III. None of these three men distinguished themselves as top flight signal callers on the field in 2016. It’s why all three are unsigned. So why have we heard nothing about Shaun Hill and RGIII compared to Kaepernick? You may recall that RGIII and Kaepernick’s careers look strangely similar. Both debuted to great success as athletic, running quarterbacks and have struggled to ever reclaim the magic of their initial seasons. Yet we hear nothing of RGIII this offseason in free agency and are overloaded with Kap news.
Politics is the only reason.
Heck, why was Jay Cutler’s free agency almost totally uncovered this past offseason before he decided to retire and do TV? Brock Osweiler started an NFL playoff game and I have no idea what’s going to happen with him. Neither do you. Hardly anyone has written about him.
So why has Kaepernick received a thousand times the coverage of all of these quarterbacks combined? Why has Kaepernick so captivated the sports media? Why is everyone in the liberal sports media constantly arguing on behalf of Kaepernick? I’ll tell you — because this is an opportunity for social justice warriors who used to write about sports to instead inflict their political opinions into sports.
Colin Kaepernick’s protest was dumb and illogical. It made no sense from the moment he began the protest, but most in the sports media were either too dumb to see this, afraid to publicly castigate him because they were afraid of being called racist, or, most likely of all, they agreed with Kaepernick’s protest themselves because it reflected their own biased world view.
Kaepernick protested the killing of black men by police officers while wearing socks depicting the police as pigs and showing up in a Fidel Castro tshirt. While he never elucidated a coherent political philosophy motivating his decision to kneel, Kaepernick apparently wanted the United States government to take the killing of black people by police more seriously and ensure that police coverups weren’t happening when minorities were shot by police. (I’m the only person in sports media who pointed out that bees, wasps and hornets killed more unarmed people every year than police. Or that white people were more likely to be shot by police than black people. Or that trains, TRAINS!, kill five times as many unarmed people every year as police. Look out for lighting, it kills almost as many unarmed people too.)
But these are just facts that demonstrate how full of crap Kaepernick’s motivations were. More important than all of this is that Barack Obama, a mixed race black man, and Loretta Lynch, a black female attorney general heading up the justice department, were already having the federal government conduct their own federal inquiries into police shootings of minorities. Kaepernick’s protest made no sense because he was protesting and demanding an action from his government THAT WAS ALREADY HAPPENING. This was the protest equivalent of walking into McDonald’s at 12:30 PM and taking a knee to demand that breakfast be served all day.
Except, guess what, McDonald’s already served breakfast all day.
How dumb would you look if you protested McDonald’s not serving breakfast all day by taking a knee and McDonald’s was already serving breakfast all day? Well, that’s exactly what Kaepernick did. Yet instead of ridiculing him for the stupidity of his protest, many argued he was the Muhammad Ali of his generation.
If you’re not going to stick to sports, shouldn’t you at least have to stick to rationality?
How many people in sports media were actually willing to criticize Kaepernick? Three or four? Less?
Kaepernick was so politically engaged, HE DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO VOTE IN THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION!
Given that Trump won the election by roughly 77,000 total votes in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, you can even argue that Kaepernick’s protest may have flipped the election to Trump. I mean, is it really inconceivable to think that 38,500 football fans, less than half of the crowd in a single Big Ten football stadium, could have flipped their votes from Hillary to Trump based on their disgust with Kaepernick’s protest and the fawning coverage he received from the liberal sports media?
I don’t think so.
In fact, I think you can make a decent case that Kaepernick got Trump elected president.
Which makes this all the more remarkable — Kaepernick stopped his protest after the election. So Donald Trump won the election, potentially because of Kap’s protest, and Trump immediately rolled back federal oversight of police shootings and intensified the government’s prosecution of minority offenders for minor offenses under a new attorney general, and KAEPERNICK STOPPED HIS PROTEST.
If anything, the liberal sports media should be ripping Kaepernick for having the courage of his convictions only when his contract was guaranteed.
But of course the liberal sports media isn’t going to do that.
They’re too busy praising the Smithsonian for putting Kap’s jersey on display.
Seriously, this is really happening.
Colin Kaepernick isn’t a top free agent like LeBron, Manning, Favre or Durant yet he’s being covered like one. Heck, he isn’t even a top thirty quarterback in the NFL, yet he’s now probably the most covered NFL free agent in the history of the sport. All because of the left wing beliefs of the sports media.
How insane is this? And how insane is it that no one else has pointed out this insanity?
If everyone in the left wing sports media thinks Kaepernick’s so worthy of employment, why don’t all of you start asking these media people an interesting question on social media — why don’t the CEO’s of your companies employ Kaepernick? Instead of ripping the NFL and its teams, shouldn’t you be ripping your own bosses for not hiring him too? I mean, if Kaepernick’s so articulate and brave and outspoken — the modern day Ali — shouldn’t ESPN, NBC, CBS and Fox all be fighting to sign him for their own NFL coverage?
It’s a no brainer, right?
The fact that even MSESPN won’t employ Kaepernick should tell you everything you need to know –Kap’s not employed because his problems exceed his talents.
Even in TV.
There’s no grand conspiracy working against Kaepernick in the NFL, he’s just not good enough to be a starter and his protest makes him too much of a distraction to be a back up.
Anyone in the sports media arguing anything else isn’t really arguing about Kaepernick at all, they’re just using sports to argue for their own left wing political opinions.