The Left Isn't Giving Up on Colin Kaepernick

What is it they say about New York? “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere?”

The lesson in last year’s Colin Kaepernick saga should be, “If you can’t make it as a professional social justice warrior/NFL quarterback in San Francisco, you can’t make it anywhere.” The famously leftist city might have tolerated mediocre play while still supporting him and his progressive message.

Only he wasn’t mediocre. He was epically bad, leading the Niners to a 1-10 record in his stint as the starter last year.

But don’t tell any of this to the media, who just won’t hear any of it. 

After all, it’s ridiculous that Jay Cutler was hired by the Miami Dolphins (to fill in for the injured Ryan Tannehill) when Kaepernick is available, Richard Fowler suggested Monday night on Fox News’s “The Five.”

Why? Here’s his brilliant analysis. “I think that Kaepernick is a better quarterback than Cutler. According to ESPN, he has a 55 QBR in 12 games with the 49ers, whereas Cutler has a 33 QBR in five games.”

That’s it, case closed. Fowler did the diligent research of googling their 2016 stats, which are lopsided (at least in regard to Cutler’s having started fewer games due to injuries) and left an awful lot of other data and important considerations out. But the conclusion is that Miami’s management should have hired Kaepernick, as he’s a much better quarterback than Cutler. How silly of Miami’s management to not to take a few seconds to google their respective ESPN quarterback ratings from 2016.

Cutler is not a great quarterback, I think that is pretty clear. After a lot of promise in his early career, his play has quickly diminished with age. But he does bring some less tangible value to the Dolphins. With the experience of eleven years as an NFL starter, he knows how to manage a game, still has an incredible arm, and has much better pocket presence than the notoriously skittish Kaepernick.

Oh, and there’s the side benefit of not having a quarterback who defends Fidel Castro and Communist Cuba playing quarterback in a city where tens of thousands of residents had relatives who were viciously murdered, and their property stolen, by Fidel Castro and Communist Cuba.

Clearly, Kaepernick might not work there, just as he didn’t fit in with the white, effete coastal liberals of San Francisco, where only 6% of the population is black. But, Fowler suggests, he and his message might be right at home in Baltimore with the Ravens, where the black population is roughly 63% of the city’s demographic makeup.

“I hope the Ravens will make the right choice in signing Kaepernick,” Fowler continued, “because Falco [sic] is injured.”

He continues:

“Number one, I feel that jersey sales go through the roof in Baltimore. He would fit in great with the city.” Ostensibly, this is due to the aforementioned black population which has proven to be prone to rioting on the premise of the Black Lives Matter narrative. So the city should love to have Colin on board. No word yet from the other, non-rioting citizens of Baltimore as to whether they think it’s a good idea to hire a quarterback who will stoke the racial animus with his weekly theatrics.

“Number two,” Fowler goes on, “like… people making this big stink about Kaepernick sort of expressing his First Amendment right, for not standing up for the pledge [sic]. But Tom Brady cheated!”

For the record, Kaepernick’s First Amendment rights were never in doubt. In fact, they were entirely protected as the Founders intended. He was not jailed for his speech. That’s where his First Amendment rights end.

The NFL, on the other hand, could have fired him on the spot the very first time he knelt during the National Anthem, and would have been well-within their rights to do so.

The Tom Brady comment is purely a non-sequitur, meant to distract from the fact that he clearly has no idea what he’s talking about. It’s not about Joe “Falco” or Kaepernick “not standing up for the pledge.” Fowler just agrees with Kaepernick’s message, and thinks that teams should just do the right thing and hire him based upon his SJW cred.

And speaking of “doing the right thing,” Spike Lee is getting into the act, hosting a rally at the NFL headquarters in order to get the NFL to cave, thereby pressuring some team to hire Kaepernick.

Shannon Sharpe, a usual fiery commentator about racial issues in America who sometimes briefly digresses into discussions about sports, suggested that it’s “embarrassing” that Kaepernick does not yet have a job.

Here’s what the left just doesn’t get. When your industry relies upon public consumption of the product you provide, and your brand is what you do on and off the field, the fickleness of the consumer matters. The consumer decided that Kaepernick had stepped beyond the boundaries thus drawn by consumers and the industry which employed him.

The numbers tell the tale. A recent poll suggests that 26% of people who watched less NFL football last year did so due to the National Anthem protests. This is a big deal, and undoubtedly the NFL has taken note.

However, over at Deadspin, Patrick Redford calls this “data malpractice.” Because only 12% of those polled said they watch less football, it’s “just 287 of 9,200 people who say they tuned out due to the protests.” This poll was to make a political point, he argues.

I’m not sure why it’s necessary to explain that a poll is meant to signify larger trends, but sadly, I guess it is.

287 is 3.12% of 9,200. 45.3 million viewers tuned in to watch the Super Bowl last year. 3.12% of that is 1.41 million people. That’s a lot of people.

The huge viewership of Sunday Night Football, on average, was roughly 20.3 million in 2016, down from 22.5 million in 2015. 3.12% of the average Sunday Night Football viewership is 633 thousand people who are not weekly watching ads, making the ad space on the show less valuable.

Yet Redford says the survey is “meaningless” because “a larger share of respondents” said they’d watched more football last year, and ratings are actually falling. That’s pretty vague and ridiculous logic. Watching “more football” might be watching one game, whereas the previous year a person might have watched none. That’s entirely different than someone saying that they made a conscious effort to watch less football because of the protests. More likely than not, such a person watched significantly fewer football games in 2016, causing a greater impact to ratings.

Unmistakably, the protests have hugely negative impact on business for the NFL. The social currency of having Colin Kaepernick on a team will not translate to actual currency for the NFL. If he were a better player, maybe things would be different. But since he’s terrible, and since it’s clear that his theatrics alienate broad swathes of NFL fans, it only stands to reason that no one’s champing at the bit to hire him.

And in America, no one should expect anyone to.

William Sullivan blogs at Political Palaver and can be followed on Twitter.