You know what’s crazy? I’ll tell you what’s crazy™
Collin Kaepernick is crazy.
The embattled Quarterback, who fancies himself a modern day Muhammad Ali, held a tryout recently in Atlanta.
The purpose of the tryout is somewhat enigmatic. On the surface, the idea was to show NFL scouts that Kaepernick still has the tools to play in the NFL.
The reason it’s enigmatic is because everyone already know this. It’s no secret that Kaepernick has a cannon for an arm. He’s lead a team to a superbowl. He can throw a football 50 yards from his knees. Kaepernick is a surgeon with a pig skin, able to perform open heart surgery on a Nickle Defense with a flick of his wrist. There’s no doubt this guy’s got talent. So why does a QB with this kind of talent need a tryout?
Because nobody will hire him. And why won’t anyone take a chance? Because he’s a cancer. He’s a goiter festering under in the arm pit of a professional crowd surfer.
You see it’s the NFL. You can’t go around bad mouthing the NFL. The No Fun League.
But it’s not just the NFL. It’s life. What Kaepernick doesn’t understand is how life works. You see, you can’t bad mouth your organization and make your bosses look bad and lose your company money and still think you have a place to come to work.
Kaepernick became a lightning rod for social change, and in doing so he lost revenue and prompted declining ratings for the NFL.
You heard me. Because Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem, the Holy Grail of American Pre-Game events, fans signed off to him and the sport that employs him.
Think about it. If you lost your company money, how long would they keep you around?
So why does Kaepernick think he can give the NFL a piping hot prostate exam in front of the whole world and not suffer any consequences?
For the last 3 years, every single team in the NFL has had Collin Kaepernick’s phone number. Every NFL scout knew he was in shape and ready to start slinging the rock.
Nobody called except NIKE, and maybe Al Sharpton.
To the NFL, Kaepernick is a pariah. He punched his meal ticket in the nose. America was divided, but the NFL had no doubt. Punch us in the face and you can take your howitzer right arm and take a hike.
Across the NFL universe, TV sets switched from grid iron smash mouth toughness to the Hallmark Channel.
Kaepernick acted like playing in the NFL was his God given right, when performing in the NFL is really a distinct privilege.
I’ve learned that Freedom of Speech ends in this country when you use your key card to enter your place of employment.
It may be the USA outside that door, but inside those four walls, it’s the Republic of whatever the hell your boss says it is. And like all businesses, the NFL is a bottom line business in a Billion Dollar industry.
While players like Kaepernick are the engine that power the message, the NFL is the gatekeeper of the logo, the look, and ultimately the message.
Unfortunately, player individualism is often subservient to the NFL Mother Ship.
Why do you think every player looks the same on TV. The Rams players always look like the Rams players. Doesn’t matter if it is 1999 or 2019. It’s a big helmet with a ram logo and shoulder pads. Doesn’t matter if it is Eric Dickerson or Todd Gurley. It’s the Rams. It’s Branding.
The NFL is carefully orchestrated like a CIA hit on an Isis stronghold.
The NFL controls everything, because in the end, what you see is what you buy. When your customers aren’t buying tickets, jerseys and hot dogs, you are losing money. If the perception is, workers at the place you buy your stuff hate America, then why would you buy their stuff?
Why would you invest your entire Sunday to watch players who hate the USA on TV.
Perception is reality.
And if you don’t watch them on TV, then the beer companies and the insurance companies and the car companies lose money too.
Because of Kaepernick America closed its eyes, turned its back, shut its wallet.
Like screaming I’m lactose intolerant in a crowded meeting of Dairy Farmers, NFL owners got anxious.
When an employee starts to make his bosses look bad, only bad things can happen for that employee.
So Kaepernick was fired. It’s right out of the Harvard Business School playbook. It’s not brain surgery. You don’t bite the hand that feeds.
In defense of Kaepernick, his message is worthwhile. His belief is worth shouting out loud.
But a man must understand that there is always a time and a place to do these things correctly.
Kaepernick obviously doesn’t understand this nuance, because his message got lost in the noise.
Optics, Collin, Optics!
Kaepernick is like the angry employee in your break room who makes everyone a little uncomfortable.
Collin Kaepernick is the work place equivalent of the guy who says the wrong things at the wrong time in front of the HR department and wonders why he got days off.
Eventually the boss is going to look at this trouble maker and wonder how it affects the company bottom line.
As everyone knows, Collin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem and it created a national uproar that continues to this day.
This was a phenomenon. To some it was a revelation that illuminated injustice. To others it was an abomination of long cherished pregame beliefs.
Everyone has an opinion. The president weighed in. Religious leaders weighed in.
Kaepernick chose to kneel before the National Anthem. He was trying to bring attention to the fact that Black Lives matter and Police harassment of African Americans is unjust.
It’s a great message. But timing is everything. Optics are everything.
This is America. The land of the free, the home of the Brave. But you can’t always do whatever you want, whenever you want.
Imagine if Kaepernick had tried a different approach. Imagine if instead of kneeling, he stood. Imagine that he stood behind the podium at the post game press conference as the starting QB of an NFL team. Every single Sunday he would have had the pulpit to disseminate his powerful message without his message being misconstrued or insulting to anyone.
Had he used his power as one of only 32 humans on the planet playing quarterback in the greatest sports league in the world, he would have had a megaphone the size of a subway car.
“BLACK LIVES MATTER” He could have stated every single Sunday for the last 3 years.
Kaepernick could have constructively highlighted social issues of importance and it would have resonated. His message would not have been diluted or sadly misinterpreted.
You see that’s the problem with the Collin Kaepernick issue. He was protesting one thing, while the optics looked like something else.
While the rest of America was standing and taking off its hat, putting its collective hand on its heart and singing the Star Spangled Banner, Millionaire football players were taking a knee.
It seemed disrespectful and the message was distorted.
I don’t think a single player was trying to disrespect the flag or the USA or veterans. But sadly, when you don’t handle optics correctly, what you meant to say doesn’t really matter.
Kaepernick would tell us over and over and over, his message was to raise attention about police brutality.
Unfortunately, all anyone ever saw was a gigantic American flag held tight and firm by members of the United States Military. And then right behind them you saw grown men, making millions of dollars, taking a knee.
Protest or Disrespect?
It doesn’t really matter. Because Kaepernick lost his job and has been trying to get it back for the last 3 years.
Perception truly is reality.
So back to that Odd Workout in Atlanta. Somewhere out of nowhere, this weird dog and pony show materializes. Kaepernick is going to throw at the Atlanta Falcons facility. He is going to throw to former NFL wide receivers. He will be videotaped by the Falcons film crew. That film will be disseminated to all 32 teams. 25 members of the 32 teams actually decided to send a rep to the tryout.
DAMN. KAEPERNICK HAS A CHANCE TO GET BACK IN THE NFL, I THOUGHT TO MYSELF.
Again, the optics were all screwed up. Whatever this tryout was suppose to be quickly turned into a stinky bathroom in Ensenada where gasoline flavored tequila and cat tacos were half price.
What a stain.
Kaepernick proved he was still physically talented, but also a glass of nitroglycerin.
Put this combustible QB near a flame and something explosive was certainly going to happen.
Kaepernick threw hard and long and looked like he still has elite arm talent, even though he’s been on the shelf shilling for NIKE for the last 3 years.
So what does he do after he pulls the rug out from underneath the NFL reps at the last second? He opens his mouth and roars. His words are sour and angry.
Collin forgot this was a job interview instead of a protest march with Antifa.
He acted like he was entitled instead of grateful. He shouted at the cameras before him. His words were arrogant, aggressive, defiant and angry. He called out all of his future bosses labeling them cowards who were afraid to take a chance on him.
All I saw was the disgruntled co-worker in the break room who pulls out a handgun and goes postal.
Living in the America guarantees you the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
But it doesn’t mean anyone has to like you or pay you, even if you think you deserve it.