The big wheels of the anti-Kaepernick machine keep rolling.
In an item that sounds a little like our recent PFT item but that in many ways is fundamentally different, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com shares under the cloak of anonymity more criticism of Kaepernick’s football habits. And, at a time when the 49ers have recently apologized to Kaepernick for a leak to Peter King of TheMMQB.com regarding Kaepernick’s desire to play, these latest leaks come from, yes, the 49ers.
“As one Niners employee explained it, Kaepernick wouldn’t stay late at the facility during the season like many quarterbacks routinely do, saying he’d take work home,” Breer writes. “And there were examples where coaches saw what looked like shoddy prep surfacing in inexplicable mental errors in games. Another staffer, asked if he thinks Kaepernick wants to keep playing, answered, ‘I do think he wants to play — to stay relevant.'”
It’s not clear on the surface of the article whether the leaks come from current or former 49ers employees. Breer has clarified that the person who expressed the belief that Kaepernick wants to play “to stay relevant” was employed by the team a year ago, but Breer has not clarified whether the Niners employee who chided Kaepernick for taking work home is still employed, or whether the leak came before or after G.M. John Lynch told PFT Live that he apologized to Kaepernick for the leaks to King about Kaepernick.
The irony of Breer’s article is that his broader point — Kaepernick needs to speak on his own behalf — comes in an article containing more examples of people speaking about him under the cloak of anonymity. Multiple members of the media have been trafficking in these anonymous opinions, passing them along without scrutiny and thus necessarily presenting them as true.
Breer’s item becomes the latest example of King’s website being all over the map when it comes to Kaepernick. King has consistently and repeatedly argued that Kaepernick should be employed, reiterating the view most recently in King’s weekly mailbag and sharing eye-opening data on Monday from Cian Fahey suggesting that Kaepernick threw only seven “interceptable” passes in 2016, the least in the league. (Kaepernick threw 16 touchdown passes against four interceptions for a 90.2 passer rating last season; imagine how well he would have played if he wasn’t lazy, as Breer’s latest reporting clearly implies.)
Others, like Breer and Andy Benoit, have made their views on Kaepernick clear. Benoit received sharp criticism from Drew Magary of Deadspin.com for making a football-based argument that all 32 starters and 15 backup quarterbacks are better than Kaepernick. While it’s admirable that King allows his people the freedom to write what they want, the issues raised by Kaepernick’s unemployment are too sensitive and too nuanced for a publication to be skittering all over the place regarding whether Kaepernick can or can’t play, regarding whether he does or doesn’t want to play, and regarding whether his unemployment is or isn’t a result of his activism.