As Americans come together on our national holiday to give thanks and show gratitude toward one another, Thanksgiving has always been a holiday for love, reflection and community, as well as football.
The tables are set.
The turkeys are in the oven.
And Colin Kaepernick is still not signed by an NFL team.
With that in mind, we’re left wondering: What would the NFL’s Thanksgiving table be like this year?
At the table full of owners, GMs and coaches sharing turkey, stuffing and apple pie, what conversations would we overhear? The ongoing debate and controversy regarding concussions. The high-profile, season-ending injuries this year. And the collective-bargaining agreement, in which guaranteed contracts still do not exist in America’s most violent sport.
What would the NFL family be thankful for? And when someone at the table inevitably brings up kneeling during the national anthem, will anyone remember the true meaning of the holiday: to come together as family and friends, to embrace and respect our differences, as well as listen to one another with empathy and compassion? And would one person have the courage to speak up to defend all players’ right to the First Amendment, guaranteeing all Americans with the freedom of speech?
Or will everyone within the league continue to be immune to the social and civil unrest by the NFL’s lack of truth and justice?
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) October 3, 2017
We know one thing for sure: one person who wouldn’t be invited is Colin Kaepernick.
No player this season has been more blatantly disinvited or blackballed from the league – a league whose foundation is supposedly built around unity and family – than Kaepernick.
Without question, no position in sports is more important or polarizing than an NFL quarterback. And, in an era of fake news, what could be more truthful than this: The facts and the stats do not lie.
This season, unlike many in the past, has been an anomaly regarding how many inexperienced and underachieving quarterbacks have been signed. All of this while a supremely talented player who has led his team to a Super Bowl appearance with exceptional on-field performance sits on the sideline, respectfully on one knee, waiting for the call that never comes. In the spirit of family discussion and conversation that Thanksgiving creates, let us examine the data to help provide some insight for when that uncomfortable Kaepernick fodder comes up.
COLIN KAEPERNICK 90.7*
Jay Cutler 82.7
Blake Bortles 81.8
Mitchell Trubisky 78.2
Mike Glennon 76.9
Trevor Siemian 76.8
Tom Savage 71.2
Drew Stanton 68.9
Brock Osweiler 65.5
Brett Hundley 63.3
DeShone Kizer 54.0
DVOA (measures QB value per play), per Football Outsiders
Blake Bortles – -0.9
Jay Cutler – -15
COLIN KAEPERNICK – -17.5*
Mitchell Trubisky – -18.8
Trevor Siemian – -19.3
Brock Osweiler – -23.8
Brett Hundley – -26
Mike Glennon – -35.4
Tom Savage – -41.9
DeShone Kizer – -47.9
Drew Stanton (not enough throws)
COLIN KAEPERNICK 16/4*
Jay Cutler 13/9
Blake Bortles 12/7
Trevor Siemian 9/10
DeShone Kizer 5/14
Mitchell Trubisky 4/2
Tom Savage 4/3
Mike Glennon 4/5
Drew Stanton 3/2
Brock Osweiler 3/4
Brett Hundley 2/7
Mitchell Trubisky 6.81
COLIN KAEPERNICK 6.77*
Trevor Siemian 6.76
Blake Bortles 6.62
Brock Osweiler 5.99
Brett Hundley 5.95
Mike Glennon 5.95
Drew Stanton 5.93
Jay Cutler 5.91
Tom Savage 5.86
DeShone Kizer 5.51
COLIN KAEPERNICK – 468 YARDS/2 TDs*
DeShone Kizer – 223 yards/4 TDs
Blake Bortles – 195 yards/0 TDs
Mitchell Trubisky – 163 yards/0 TDs
Brett Hundley – 104 yards/2 TDs
Trevor Siemian – 89 yards/1 TD
Brock Osweiler – 22 yards/0 TDs
Jay Cutler – 20 yards/0 TDs
Drew Stanton – 7 yards/0 TDs
Mike Glennon – 4 yards/0 TDs
Tom Savage – 3 yards/0 TDs
*Colin Kaepernick statistics are from the 2016-17 season, when he started 10 games for the San Francisco 49ers.
As you can see, the facts/stats do not lie. It is a travesty that Kaepernick has been sent to the unemployment line by the NFL.
Despite not working and not getting paid this year, he has been one of the most philanthropic athletes in America. Just one example is the $1 million donation he quietly and humbly gave to community organizations helping the underserved.
As things stand, there are plenty of arguments against Kap. People will tell you that his skills have diminished, that his game has eroded. He doesn’t have the same body. He isn’t fully committed to football. He is a distraction.
What I am here to tell you is that the 30-year-old Kaepernick is in pristine physical condition, working out daily, waiting for his turn. Better yet, if he was such a distraction, than why did his teammates, just last season, make him the Len Eshmont Award recipient, given annually to the player who best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Eshmont. It is voted on by 49ers players and is considered the most prestigious team honor one can receive.
Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL owners talk about the “shield” as a badge of honor. Where is the honor in denying a proud, young man who has the moral courage to stand up for what he believes in by taking a knee to establish a much needed voice for so many who can’t be heard?
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Follow Jordan Schultz on Twitter @Schultz_Report