The Colin Kaepernick false narratives

Given our support for the return of Colin Kaepernick to the NFL, a sports league that has wrongfully denied him employment for more than three years, plenty of negative and/or hostile emails have arrived in recent days. Most contain key factual errors regarding Kaepernick’s experiences since becoming a free agent in March 2017.

For starters, it’s important to remember a few things. First, the 49ers would have cut Colin Kaepernick if he hadn’t opted out of his remaining contract with the 49ers. G.M. John Lynch said so, emphatically, on PFT Live. Second, Kaepernick has received no offers of employment since becoming a free agent in March 2017. Third, he has had only one visit since becoming a free agent in March 2017, with the Seahawks later that year. Fourth, no team has invited him for a workout.

Those are facts. They are verifiable. They are undisputable. As NFLPA executive director De Smith likes to you, you’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.

Some have argued that Kaepernick rejected an opportunity to sign with the Broncos since becoming a free agent in March 2017. That is false. The Broncos considered trading for Kaepernick in 2016 (after the retirement of Peyton Manning and defection of Brock Osweiler to Houston), before Kaepernick ever protested during the anthem, but he declined to reduce his guaranteed salary to facilitate a trade. Then, once he became a free agent in 2017, the Broncos showed no interest, arguing basically that he had his chance to sign with the team in 2016. (Meanwhile, Osweiler was offered a contract in 2017, a year after spurning the Broncos for the Texans.)

Other false narratives have been used by teams and/or the league office, with the media serving as a willing conduit, to win the P.R. battle regarding the shunning of Colin Kaepernick. Last October, agent Jeff Nalley issued a fact sheet addressing many of the false narratives. We addressed several of them in May 2017, from Kaepernick demanding $9 million to $10 million per year to demanding a chance to compete for the starting job to his vegan diet (while Tom Brady does the same thing) to the inaccurate notion that Kaepernick would prefer to do social justice work over playing football to the broad-brush proclamation that Kaepernick was unsigned because, as Albert Breer of SI.com claimed in 2017, “[h]e’s not considered a starting-caliber player by any NFL evaluator anymore” — a simultaneous deep dive into the mind of every single talent evaluator employed by every NFL team.

More recently, the Associated Press floated the notion that Kaepernick may have a bigger platform by not playing than if he returned to the league, a laughable notion that feels like a favor fed by a league that hopes the heat will leave the kitchen before the stove explodes.

So to those of you who resent or otherwise disagree with our ongoing effort to get someone/anyone to do the right thing, make sure you take a page from the Mike Gundy pre-mullet playbook and get your facts straight.

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