Colin Kaepernick is a professional quarterback without a team.
I’m OK with that.
About six months ago, Kaepernick became more famous for his pre-game activities than he did for anything he had ever done on the football field as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.
He took a stand, one that — in the end — may end up costing him an NFL career and tens of millions of dollars in future pro football earnings.
I’m disappointed that a stand Kaepernick took for something he felt strongly in could lead to the premature end to his career.
But can live with that.
Actions have consequences, and if Kaepernick was not prepared to live with the consequences of his action, then he should not have staged his protest.
At the start of last year’s NFL season, the-then quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers decided to protest racial inequality by not standing during the National Anthem of NFL games.
I didn’t agree with the reason for his protest then, and I don’t agree now.
But Kaepernick had every right in the world to protest in the manner he did.
So. I was OK with it.
As protests go, this one was rather innocuous, and pretty harmless.
Kaepernick’s protest gained a little momentum in the following weeks and months.
It some small degree, it spread to other NFL teams and some college teams. It led to some similar protests in the NBA. The pro baseball season starts in a few weeks, so we shall have to wait and see to see if something similar is going to happen in major league ballparks this summer.
If it does, I’m OK with that, too.
Kaepernick is now a free agent, having been released by the 49ers.
And I’m OK with that.
In recent days, it has been reported that some NFL owners have no interest in giving Colin Kaepernick a tryout.
They have no interest in paying him millions to play quarterback.
They’re angry about his protest, and they’re not willing to put aside those feelings.
I’m OK with that.
It’s disappointing, but NFL owners have that right.
Just as Kaepernick had the right to protest, NFL owners have the right not to want him on their team.
All actions have consequences … good and bad.
But I don’t think Kaepernick’s protest should result in the end of his pro football career.
Although I disagreed with the premise his protest was based on, I admired him for not backing down.
I still do. Kaepernick has since said he’s going to end his protest.
I hope he’s not doing it so NFL owners and fans will give him another chance.
But if he is, I understand.
Still, it’s kind of a disappointment if that is the reason, although Kaepernick insists it is not.
And in the same way, I can’t fault any NFL owner who doesn’t want to deal with the headaches that might come with signing Kaepernick to a pro contract.
And this is where it gets tricky.
Because there is another potential NFL athlete with a past in the news.
I’m curious to see if NFL owner’s will stick to their moral high ground when it comes to running back prospect Joe Mixon.
It’s easy to ignore an athlete who’s best days are behind him, as in the case of Kaepernick … or former NFL running back Ray Rice.
But Mixon is a a first-round talent, possibly the finest running back in this year’s NFL draft.
And he comes a whole lot of baggage.
In 2014, as a college freshman, Mixon assaulted a female student. The victim, Amelia Molitor, suffered four broken facial bones. Mixon was charged with “acts resulting in gross injury,” a misdemeanor. A plea agreement ended the criminal part of the case and Mixon served one year of probation, received counseling, and had to perform 100 hours of community service as his punishment.
Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops suspended Mixon for the 2014 season.
I find Mixon’s actions a lot more abhorrent than anything Colin Kaepernick has ever done.
But some NFL team is going to draft Mixon next month.
The talented running back and convicted abuser will sign a contract worth millions, with the approval of some NFL team owner.
I’m OK with that, too.
Everyone deserves a second chance, even Mixon.
He may have gotten off easy after punching out Amelia Molitor, but that decision was made by a prosecutor in Oklahoma, and it is in the past.
If a football team does it’s due diligence and decides Mixon is worth taking a chance on, that’s OK.
Some NFL fans are going to be irate that a man who abuses woman is going to make millions from the NFL.
I’m OK with that, too.
They have that right. And if they are so inclined, they should protest.
Even fans of the team that Mixon signs with will be angry, until he scores a bunch of touchdowns.
And then those fans will forgive and forget.
They always do.
And that’s OK, too.
But the fact remains, what Mixon did is much worse than anything Kaepernick has done.
And the fans who will cheer Mixon, are the same fans who vilified Kaepernick.
Also, I hope the NFL team that signs Mixon, in spite of his violent past, is not owned by the same person who refuses to give Kaepernick a
I will not be OK with that.
Russ Kent is editor of the Bellville Star, Galion Inquirer and Morrow County Sentinel. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or story ideas.