Legendary NFL quarterback Brett Favre recently did an interview with TMZ Sports, and he was asked a question in regards to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The interviewer was very pointed about the question, saying that “People look at Colin Kaepernick and they see a Jackie Robinson or a Muhammad Ali.” He asked Favre for his opinion on Kaepernick.
Favre likened Kaepernick to the former Arizona Cardinals linebacker-turned-Army-soldier, Pat Tillman. Favre said that “Tillman was the only one who had done anything close to [what Kaepernick did for social justice], and we regard him as a hero. I believe that hero status will be stamped with Kaepernick as well.”
The difference between Pat Tillman and Colin Kaepernick
This is a very bold statement by Favre, and there are a few problems already with it. First off, what Kaepernick did was nothing like what Tillman did. Tillman was at the height of his career and resigned from football, even leaving the biggest contract he ever was offered, to join the United States Army, deployed to a war overseas, and was killed in a foreign country in uniform on his second tour, all in the name of patriotism and freedom. The Army even gave Tillman the chance to leave and go back stateside, but he responded with, “I owe three more years, I’ll do a second tour.” True unselfish sacrifice.
Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem to protest against systematic racism (which is highly disputed by numerous African American scholars such as Thomas Sowell), after he had been benched for Blaine Gabbert, effectively divided the country with his actions, and was “black-balled” from the NFL. Kaepernick was regarded immediately as a hero, and received multiple multi-million dollar endorsement deals from large companies such as Nike and received a media gig on Medium. He is making more money than he would ever get on his NFL contracts and sponsorships. He received many awards and honors such as the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award in 2017, as well as multiple other acknowledgments for his “bravery.” He sued the NFL for collusion and took a large settlement.
That’s absolutely nothing like Pat Tillman.
The following that Kaepernick has built
Regardless, the story of Colin Kaepernick is an interesting one, full of twists and turns. The avid followers of the man call for his reinstatement in the NFL and regard him as a man who martyred his professional career for social justice.
Here’s the key to this story, people:
Kaepernick most certainly could have a job in the NFL. His talent level is certainly there but in reality, it would be as a back-up as his performance proves. It isn’t to say that he couldn’t work into a starting job, but while his production in his final season (2016) was among the best in his career, the 49ers ended up going 2-14 and struggled mightily with Colin at the helm. Hell, he didn’t even start a good portion of the season, he was sitting behind Blaine Gabbert. So the 49ers made a good business decision and let him walk following the 2016 season.
There are plenty of quarterbacks who have found themselves in a similar situation, like Kaepernick, at that point in their career. Kurt Warner left Saint Louis after losing his job to Mark Bulger and couldn’t beat out rookie Eli Manning. He left New York and earned a chance in Arizona, and played in another Super Bowl. Donovan McNabb was let go of by the Philadelphia Eagles, and he found a place in Washington with the Redskins. This isn’t a case of racism, it’s that he was in a team where his skill sets didn’t work and his play didn’t elevate the team around him. He needed to work to change that and chose not to decline the contracts offered to him.
The fact of the matter is that he has had chances. The Baltimore Ravens, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Denver Broncos all offered him the chance to be the back-up and compete. He turned them all down because they didn’t offer him enough money… His words, not mine. Teams have still expressed interest in Kaepernick, most recently Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, but it never seems to be enough for Kaepernick.
Kaepernick cannot and has no interest in signing with an NFL team.
Kaepernick’s career is a campaign of victimization
I’ll show you why: First, Kaepernick took a knee for social justice, one of the hottest topics in America right now. People are being labeled as racists, anti-movement, and “bigots” for any reason or things that happened years prior. People are not acting through legal means but instead acting via mobs tearing down statues, removing prominent black names from food boxes and logos, as well as demanding change through excessive violence and threats.
If Kaepernick rejoined the ranks of the NFL, the very league that he protested against and left (while accusing them of black-balling him), he would no longer put himself up as the martyr, the myth, and the legend who gave up his NFL career to social justice reform. He would be seen by his supporters as the man who caved and rejoined the NFL the very system he had denounced.
Secondly, look at the work-out situation that came up in November of 2019. Kaepernick’s group had over 16 NFL teams that sent scouts on a Saturday, who willingly did so for him a single person that they never do for anyone else, which is also one of the worst days to conduct work out in the NFL week to the Atlanta Falcons private facilities. Kaepernick bombed the performance claiming that the liability waiver that the NFL wanted him to sign was racist (it was the same liability waiver any other player signs before a work-out), and protested the fact that the NFL wouldn’t air his private work-out. He canceled the work-out 30 minutes before it was scheduled to start and moved it to a private high school, almost an hour away, where he performed in front of zero NFL teams because the scouts were not going to be shuffled around like pawns in a political stunt. Afterward, he claimed that the NFL was racist and that they didn’t want to let him back in the league.
Thirdly, he’s making more money taking his endorsement deals and writing on Median. He cannot sign with an NFL team and essentially jeopardize all the money and fame he has gained from social justice and give the NFL good press. The NFL is the enemy, according to Kaepernick. By not taking a job offer in the league he can continue to blame them for racism and social injustice.
Kaepernick can never rejoin the NFL
The NFL itself is under scrutiny from many outside sources for racism, claiming that there are too many white owners in the league that publicly support President Trump, not enough minority head coaches, and not enough minority staff across the front offices. Why would Kaepernick allow them to have any credit at trying to address any accusations of racism by allowing himself back into the league?
But again, Kaepernick supporters will continue to rave over his constant injustice suffered at the hands of the NFL. The scrutiny will never cease as Kaepernick’s created legend will continue to grow, sprouted by his followers who will speculate constantly at what wonders he could have accomplished in the NFL if they hadn’t have blackballed him. Undoubtedly, many will want to compare his short career to the likes of Tom Brady, because who knows how many Super Bowls Kaepernick could have won had the NFL let him play.
Kaepernick will never return to the NFL and it won’t be because of the lack of opportunity. It will be because he chooses not to further his politically driven agenda.
Brett Favre is wrong.
Colin Kaepernick shouldn’t be regarded as a hero, nor in the same sentence as Pat Tillman, a true American hero who made a true American sacrifice.