Flashback to February 3, 2013, in New Orleans at Super Bowl XLVII, and Colin Kaepernick was on top of the world—with a chance for eternal glory. The 49ers had first-and-goal on the opponent’s seven-yard line, trailing, 34-29 with under three minutes left in the game.
Three incomplete passes later, and the dream was dead. Little did we know that Kaepernick’s career peaked right there. Some of us guessed there were issues when he spent the offseason posing naked and kissing his biceps instead of studying film or fixing his unorthodox delivery, but we didn’t know for sure.
By the end of the next season, there was little doubt, however. His game regressed; his team regressed. The 49ers have not been to the postseason since, and the organization is somewhat a mess. Then again, so is Kaepernick, who hasn’t played since the 2016 season amid plenty of political turmoil surrounding his stance on social injustice in America that needs no recap here.
For the record, Kaepernick’s political stance is correct … legally and morally. That is not up for debate with anyone educated, informed, and possessed by an ounce of ethical recognition of right and wrong. And his game, for all its struggles after that Super Bowl loss, was still pretty solid during his last season in the NFL.
The 49ers were terrible during Kaep’s final season, bad enough to get the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. He was 1-10 as the starter that season, although his individual numbers on a bad team tell a different tale.
Kaepernick had a higher completion percentage than he did in 2013, when the 49ers reached the NFC Championship Game. His TD percentage was the second-best mark of his career. His INT percentage was the lowest of his career. His QB rating was 90.7, which is a very decent number. Oh, and he also rushed for a career-high 6.8 yards per carry.
Basically, these numbers collectively represent a good player stuck on a bad team.
Yet thanks to the political fallout of a national crisis of integrity and morality—again, that does not need recapping here—Kaepernick has found himself unemployed since then. He will be 32 in November, and he’s not a spring chicken anymore. Yet he still could play at a higher level than half the starting QBs in the NFL, not to mention all the backups.
So why is Kaepernick unemployed, still, after the latest round of QB injuries and retirements? It’s a good question, and it is easily answered when we continue to see unabashed racism in this country thriving thanks to … well, you know what.