Of all American cities that host NFL franchises, Miami arguably will be the most difficult city in which to sell Colin Kaepernick. His decision last year to wear a T-shirt containing an image of Fidel Castro and then to double down with factually inaccurate comments about the man who is reviled by many in South Florida will make it very hard for South Floridians to embrace Kaepernick.
But if he helps the Dolphins win, that shouldn’t matter, right? Don’t take my word for it (as if you ever would). Here’s Dolphins owner Stephen Ross from just last week on the issue of whether Kaepernick is being shunned by NFL teams due to his political and social activisim.
“I would sure hope not,” Ross said last Thursday, via Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post. “I know a lot’s been written about it, but you know owners and coaches — they’ll do anything it takes to win. If they think he can help them win, I’m sure — I would hope they would sign him.”
When Ross said what he said, he surely was aware of the possibility that his own starting quarterback, who entered camp with an already-impaired ACL, could end up being injured. Which would then put Ross in a position to turn his words into action.
If the worst-case scenario happens for the Dolphins, will Ross make a football-only decision about Kaepernick? More specifically, will he ignore the potential criticism of Kaepernick from fans and media along? Will Ross ignore the issues that could arise in the locker room between Kaepernick and linebacker Kiko Alonso, a Cuban-American who said last year that there is “some bad blood there for me with Kaepernick” after his comments about Castro?
Kaepernick has said his comments about Castro were taken out of context, but Ross can’t make the same claim about his own words. He has, as a practical matter, called on his partners to make a decision about Kaepernick without regard to anything but winning. Ross now may get the chance to do that which he wanted to see others do.