Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin originally didn’t believe that former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was having a hard time finding a job due to issues other than football. Baldwin has now changed his mind.
“My original position was, I thought that the situation last year with him taking a knee [during the national anthem] didn’t have anything to do with it and after viewing was going on I got to take that back,” Baldwin told reporters on Saturday. “I definitely think that the league, the owners are trying to send a message of staying between the lines, and it is frustrating because you want to have guys that are willing to speak out about things that they believe in – whether you agree with it or not. That is definitely playing a role now, more so than I thought it was going to.”
So why did Baldwin change his mind?
“I think it’s, if you take a step back and look at the overall picture, there’s a lot of teams in this league that could use a quarterback with Colin Kaepernick’s ability and why he doesn’t have a job, at this point it’s very telling to me,” Baldwin said. “He’s a very capable player and again there’s a lot of teams out there that need quarterbacks. Whether they’re starting quarterbacks or a backup quarterback. The fact that he hasn’t been brought into camp yet is questionable.”
Baldwin doesn’t believe his own team decided not to sign Kaepernick for non-football reasons, and Baldwin emphasized that the organization allows players to speak their minds. But Baldwin seems to now agree with teammate Richard Sherman‘s belief that, ultimately, it’s not about race or football but about power. Others who demonstrated during the anthem a year ago remain employed, but Kaepernick was the first. Kaepernick was the leader. Kaepernick is the one who seems to be paying for it with his career.
And every other current and future player now is on notice of what can happen if the platform provided by the NFL is co-opted for a player’s own agenda.