Colin Kaepernick: The truth of his free agency

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People are posting stories in which they state San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick was fired today by his team. This is not the case and is being done to paint a “Pro American Flag” narrative by right wing nuts who seem to think it is okay to lie just as long as you do not kneel during the national anthem.

Colin Kaepernick became a free agent today after he chose to exercise his opt out option in his contract. He informed his bosses of his intention back in December with two games left in the season, something most other players would never think of doing.

Doing so means he is now allowed to negotiate and sign a new contract with any team in the NFL, even the San Francisco 49ers. This was nothing more than a business decision made by a player who has always played under a very team friendly contract, one that guaranteed him much less money than most others at his position.

Why is it people feel the need to continually paint a false narrative about an issue? In this case, some want to make it appear as if Kaepernick was being given his walking papers. There are no surprises here. Both parties involved knew this was coming and it was just a matter as to when the NFL calendar allowed it. That window opened today.

Given that the 49ers are in need of a quarterback, it is still possible they resign him to a new deal. He actually played well with a limited supporting cast last season and now that it looks like the Washington Redskins will hang onto Kirk Cousins, SF may be more inclined to rely on Kaepernick as a bridge to their next quarterback of the future, especially with the draft having a weak crop of new signal callers to draw from.

Kaepernick is a polarizing figure, however, he had the greatest amount of respect among his teammates last year and was ultimately selected as the recipient of their prestigious Len Eshmont Award. All he did was take a public stand, something most professional athletes are afraid of doing because of the fallout that comes along with it.

While it is easy to paint Colin Kaepernick as a selfish player who has no respect for the men or women who have died in battle for the flag he refused to salute, his was never a beef with the flag or the military, but rather a society that asks all of us for its undying allegiance despite its horrific hypocrisies.

In many ways, his protest worked. There is a much greater discussion among those who have such a great influence on our lives. Athletes and celebrities have become more vocal in their political views, which in turn has led to more discussions, and arguments, among family, friends, and colleagues. Doing so was a calculated risk by Kaepernick, just as it is to opt out of a contract that could still pay him millions.

Every day, very powerful individuals, quietly hiding behind their anonymity, make decisions that they know screw the average American out of billions of dollars a year. Most of us quietly accept this practice.

However, in the case of Colin Kaepernick, he tells us straight up what he thinks and what he intends to do without worrying about whether or not it is popularly accepted.

While we are free to disagree with his stance, we are better off as a result of his honesty and openness and we would be even better off if more people of influence were willing to take such similar stances with what they believe in.

Photos by Claudia Gestro