Kaep not signed makes no sense

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - MARK KIS­ZLA Den­ver Post Colum­nist

Maybe the de­bate in Bron­cos Coun­try of “Trevor Siemian or Pax­ton Lynch?” is so hot be­cause there’s no real good choice. Af­ter watch­ing these young quar­ter­backs strug­gle to find a rhythm or give coach Vance Joseph any solid rea­son to de­clare one of them the team’s starter, are you telling me Colin Kaeper­nick couldn’t come to Den­ver and com­pete for the job?

But there’s a bet­ter chance you’ll see 57-year-old John El­way tak­ing snaps for the Bron­cos than Kaeper­nick in 2017. Why?

Kaeper­nick is the Lord Volde­mort of the NFL. He is the quar­ter­back who must not be named … as a po­ten­tial starter or even a backup, any­where in a league where there aren’t enough com­pe­tent sig­nal-callers to go around.

So I asked com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell, who stopped by Bron­cos head­quar­ters Thurs­day to hold a town hall with fans, if he be­lieved the rea­son Kaeper­nick has been un­able to get so much as a sniff of work in the NFL is pun­ish­ment for his po­lit­i­cal ac­tivism.

“No,” replied Good­ell, swiftly shoot­ing down my the­ory. “As far as teams are con­cerned,

teams make a de­ci­sion based on what’s the best de­ci­sion for them. … And they make those de­ci­sions in­di­vid­u­ally.”

In other words, Good­ell wasn’t go­ing to tackle the pos­si­bil­ity Kaeper­nick is be­ing black­balled. It wouldn’t be pru­dent, and Good­ell is hand­somely paid to pro­tect the NFL shield.

Doesn’t that pretty much ex­plain why no­body is will­ing to take a chance on Kaeper­nick? Rather than ac­knowl­edge he threw for 296 yards and rushed for 113 more in a game as re­cently as Novem­ber, NFL teams would rather look right through those im­pres­sive num­bers and hope Kaeper­nick dis­ap­pears, be­cause he put the league shield in an un­fa­vor­able light.

Yes, Kaeper­nick is flawed as a quar­ter­back, and we have as proof his 28-30 ca­reer record at the pro­fes­sional level.

But it’s also fair to men­tion that Kaeper­nick has a lower ca­reer in­ter­cep­tion per­cent­age (1.8) than Siemian (2.1), who’s re­garded as a savvy game man­ager. If the met­ric for a com­par­a­tive anal­y­sis is quar­ter­back rat­ing, Kaeper­nick (88.9) also has Siemian (84.6) beat.

Kaeper­nick, how­ever, ev­i­dently com­mit­ted an un­for­giv­able sin by lis­ten­ing to his con­science and kneel­ing as “The Star-Span­gled Ban­ner” played prior to San Fran­cisco 49ers games a year ago. His peace­ful protest of so­ci­etal in­jus­tice against black Amer­i­cans was a real turnoff to a seg­ment of pro foot­ball view­ers, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey con­ducted by J.D. Power. Among fans who claimed they watched less NFL on tele­vi­sion in 2016, more than 25 per­cent listed the No. 1 rea­son for their dis­sat­is­fac­tion as the re­fusal of play­ers such as Kaeper­nick and Den­ver line­backer Bran­don Mar­shall to stand for the na­tional an­them.

In fact, one of the 150 fans gath­ered in the Bron­cos’ in­door prac­tice fa­cil­ity for the chat with Good­ell ex­pressed his con­cern for de­clin­ing TV rat­ings as a re­sult of un-Amer­i­can stances by play­ers, and he wanted to know if the league planned to do any­thing to ad­dress on-field protests. The tenor of the ques­tion was laced with the pol­i­tics of con­fronta­tion oh-so com­mon at the mo­ment in the United States.

The re­sponse from Good­ell sur­prised me. Rather than tak­ing great pains to ap­pease a dis­grun­tled fan, Good­ell took the op­por­tu­nity to praise Mar­shall for ad­vo­cat­ing so­cial change through his an­them protest.

“I be­lieve our play­ers should be ac­tive in their com­mu­ni­ties, be­cause I be­lieve they are lead­ers in the com­mu­nity. I think they have a voice and should ex­press it. I think it’s im­por­tant to do it re­spon­si­bly,” Good­ell said. “It’s a great ex­am­ple with Bran­don Mar­shall here, who went and worked with the po­lice depart­ment and ac­tu­ally caused pos­i­tive change in the com­mu­nity.”

Mar­shall’s an­them protest cre­ated a di­a­logue for pos­i­tive change.

Good­ell was gra­cious enough to stand up and praise Mar­shall. So why isn’t one of the 32 teams in Good­ell’s league coura­geous enough to give Kaeper­nick a chance to play quar­ter­back?

If Mar­shall is to be ap­plauded, it makes no sense for Kaeper­nick to be ex­iled.

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