Colin Kaepernick sits for an interview, makes direct pitch for an opportunity

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Free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick continues to try to get back in the NFL. Toward that end, he recently sat down for a very rare interview with Brandon Marshall, Chad Johnson, and Pacman Jones of the I Am Athlete podcast.

The full episode debuts at 12:00 p.m. ET on Monday on the I Am Athlete YouTube channel.

In the interview, Kaepernick addresses several lingering questions that seem to be keeping him from getting an opportunity with an NFL team. For starters, does he want to play football?

“Absolutely,” Kaepernick said. “That’s without question. To your point, what you saw out here, that’s five years of training behind the scenes, to make sure I’m ready and stay ready at the highest level. You don’t do that if you don’t have a passion, [if] you don’t believe you’re gonna find a way on that field.”

It’s more than just finding a way onto the field for Kaepernick. He still has the dreams he had when he entered the league.

“It’s a passion,” Kaepernick said. “Like, you had those dreams from when you were a kid. I mean, like, I’m gonna be an NFL player, and I’m gonna win a Super Bowl. And for me, I have unfinished business on that front. I’ve been to the Super Bowl. We were one play away. I need to finish that.”

Brandon Marshall asked Kaepernick if he’s willing to take a minimum-salary position in order to get back in the door.

“I know I have to find my way back in,” Kaepernick said. “So, yeah, if I have to come in as a backup, that fine. But that’s not where I’m staying. And when I prove that I’m a starter, I want to be able to step on the field as such. I just need that opportunity to walk through the door. . . . More than anything, we’re just looking for a chance to walk through a door. I’ll handle the rest from there.”

It’s obvious that Kaepernick has been kept out of football for reasons unrelated to his skills. He’s good enough to be on a roster. He’s good enough to at least compete for a fair chance to start. The NFL has shunned him for reasons unrelated to football; that’s beyond fair debate at this point.

“No team’s brought me in for a workout,” Kaepernick said. “No team has brought me in for an opportunity. I had the one meeting with Seattle in 2017. And out of that, Pete Carroll said, ‘Hey, he’s a starter, we have a starter.’ And things moved on from there. But they don’t have a starter right now.”

But they’re not interested right now, and not because of anything related to football. They’re not interested because teams have consistently opted to tiptoe around the 30-percent chunk of the fanbase that hates Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem during the 2016 season in order to bring attention to police misconduct against minorities.

Brandon Marshall, playing the role of G.M., posed this question to Kaepernick: “What about our fan base? What do we say to our fan base?”

“You have End Racism in the back of your end zone,” Kaepernick said. “You have Black Lives Matter on your helmet. Everything I’ve said should be in alignment with what you’re saying publicly. It’s a $16 billion business. When I first took a knee, my jersey went to No. 1. When I did the deal with Nike, their value increased by six billion dollars. Six billion. With a B. . . . So if you’re talking about the business side, it shows [it’s] beneficial. If you’re talking about the playing side, come in [and] let me compete. You can evaluate me from there. The NFL’s supposed to be a meritocracy. Come in, let me compete. If I’m not good enough, get rid of me. But let me come in and show you.”

It sounds great. But nothing that anyone has said in more than five years has prompted any NFL owner to assume the risk of a revolt by fans who have decided they will not accept Kaepernick on their favorite team (or any team), either because they fail to understand why he exercised his right to protest during the national anthem or because they refuse to accept that someone would raise concerns about the American experience for Black and Brown Americans in that specific way.

Ultimately, it’s a business calculation for the NFL. Five years ago, the league decided that the cost of doing business with Kaepernick outweighs the benefit. They paid him a significant amount of money to settle a collusion claim arising from the allegedly collective effort to keep him out of the league. It’s hard to imagine any team changing course in such a dramatic way now, even if he’s a better quarterback than plenty of guys who currently are employed by NFL teams. (And if you don’t think he is, look at the current depth charts.)

Is it right? No. But the NFL has banked for half of a decade on the fact that those who disagree with the NFL’s refusal to give Kaepernick a job will do far less damage to the bottom line than those who would huff and puff and partially blow the house down if Kaepernick returns to the league. That’s the reason why he’s not on a team. They think they’re making more money by keeping him out than they’d make by letting him back in.

There’s no reason to think that mindset has changed since 2017. Unless and until it does, he’s not getting the opportunity that he has deserved every single day for more than 1,800 days.

88 responses to “Colin Kaepernick sits for an interview, makes direct pitch for an opportunity

  1. If he really just wanted to play football and prove he has the skill set the USFL is a great proving ground. Seems a lot more like he has other intentions.

  2. If Kap really wanted to play,
    * why did he turn down the Broncos contract offer
    * why did he try to move the workout the NFL went out of its way to set up for him?
    * why did he compare the NFL to a slave/owner model system?
    * why did he not entertain offers to play in USFL?

    I could go on, but there are plenty of reasons he’s shown by actions rather than his words he’s not serious.

    We can also look at his last seasons tape.

    I don’t care about his kneeling.

  3. Colin is welcome to try out on my flag football team. I am the QBs now, and I am picking d’s apart with my compact delivery and mastery of reading coverages. We’ll give him a shot though

  4. “Ultimately, it’s a business calculation for the NFL.”
    —————————–
    Exactly. Decision made. Move on.

  5. Someone, please, anyone… make it stop… no one’s wanted him for over half a decade… please…

  6. Well it’s obvious he sat down with three of the greatest, experience broadcasters of all time. LOL. He obviously needs money my advice is, there are lots of jobs in the restaurant business. Football is over pal.

  7. I hope the Lions bring him in to compete with Goff and we all get to see it when it rolls on Hard Knocks this summer.

  8. Kaep is not employed because he is a distraction to the team, and his skill set, while on the professional level, is not good enough to offset the hassle. If given an opportunity at this point, the media- instead of saying “good for him”, and letting it be – will create a circus, which will in turn not be worth the distraction to the team.

  9. Where do the get the 30% of the fan base? I believe it’s much higher, but I could be wrong.

  10. Anyone that saw his exhibition at the Michigan spring thing, and not just the edited clips, knows he isn’t good enough.

  11. Five years too late. He had chances to play if he really wanted to. He squandered them. And let’s face it, he’s not good enough to overcome all the baggage. Look at AB. He’s one of the best WRs in the game yet he’s unsigned. Look at Greg Hardy. And Deshaun Watson. Teams will overlook things if you’re good enough to play. He doesn’t want to play. He just wants to be in the spotlight.

  12. Football skill is just one of many job qualificatoins of an NFL QB. They also need to do things like respect the customer and listen to the owner as well. CK simply doesn’t meet all of the job requirements.

  13. If I were to constantly make political statements at my place of employment, they wouldn’t want me back either…unless I was irreplaceable. Nobody is irreplaceable. We’re all just cogs in the machine. The truth of the matter is that Colin’s talents were declining at QB. In 2016 he was ranked #17 in passer rating. He was ranked behind guys who also aren’t in the league anymore like Drew Brees, Sam Bradford, Andrew Luck, Ben Roethlisberger and Alex Smith. Combine his middle-of-the-road talent with all of the media distractions and it’s no wonder a team doesn’t want him. This isn’t rocket science.

  14. “I know I have to find my way back in,” Kaepernick said. “So, yeah, if I have to come in as a backup, that fine. But that’s not where I’m staying.”
    ——————————-
    The narrative was that he didn’t want to backup, didn’t want anything less than max value, or didn’t even really want to play. If this fool had made this statement 4 years ago I think he either would have gotten a job or at least fans would have held owners feet to the fire to declare the real reason he wasn’t on a roster. He’s saying this now because he knows it’s too late, the worst thing for his “legacy” would be to show up and suck.

  15. I used to really love this kid even when he was benched for Blaine Gabbert. I was a fan for a long time now its just plain annoying as hell. Just leave already its over. We don’t care if you’ve been keeping in shape so has Farve he’s super jacked right now.

  16. No team wants the circus-like distraction this guy will bring with him. He’s also 34, which means he likely no longer has the skills needed to be a productive starting QB in the NFL. Even if he’s good enough to be a backup, what team is going to want all of the noise and headaches that will come with him? And as many posters here have already pointed out, why is he not in the USFL? If he wants to play in the NFL again as badly as he claims he does, dominating in that league would more than likely get him an invitation to an NFL training camp somewhere.

  17. Try the USFL or XFL. If you feel you’re THAT good, go dominate that league. The NFL will come calling.

  18. Arizona
    Baltimore
    Chicago
    Seattle
    NY Giants & Jets
    New Orleans

    Any of these teams could give him a try out. Jackson’s contract isn’t done. Murray is complaining. The rest have questionable starters.

    Be done with it.

  19. I remember when the AFL asked him to play and he said he’d do it for $10M… crazy.

  20. This guy is like a bad cold that somehow, no matter how hard you try, just won’t go away.

  21. If your dream is to see this guy play, you’ve done a disservice to yourself as he’s ignored several opportunities to actually make a team. Take off your blinders!.

  22. Seems the advocate money dried up. He was offered opportunities. He turned them in to a circus. I’m also guessing that YEARS away from the game has dulled his abilities no matter what physical condition he’s in. The shield tends to overlook pretty much anything if they think you can play. That says a lot.

  23. “It’s obvious that Kaepernick has been kept out of football for reasons unrelated to his skills. He’s good enough to be on a roster. He’s good enough to at least compete for a fair chance to start. The NFL has shunned him for reasons unrelated to football; that’s beyond fair debate at this point.”

    Really? Go back to his 2015 season, which was before he started the anthem protest. It was some of the worst QB play ever. Kaepernick was great UNTIL teams figured out how to play him. Then he wasn’t successful anymore.

    Sept 27, 2015. SF loses to Arizona 47-7. Kaepernick throws interceptions of SF’s first 4 possessions, including 2 pick 6’s.

  24. Cole Beasley was far, FAR more productive last year than Kaep was during his. Not even close. Beasley was the 2nd best slot WR in the NFL and yet found himself without a roster spot. All because his personal crusade became a distraction for the team and anathema to the fanbase.

    I honestly couldn’t give a crap if the guy kneels for the anthem, but I do care a great deal when people think it’s OK to tell a private business owner who they can or cannot employ. That’s a slippery slope…

  25. Brandon Marshall asked Kaepernick if he’s willing to take a minimum-salary position in order to get back in the door.

    “I know I have to find my way back in,” Kaepernick said. “So, yeah, if I have to come in as a backup, that fine.

    ———————————————————————————————-

    If that’s how he really answered the question, then it was non-responsive and not indicative of someone willing to take a minimum salary. Marshall didn’t ask him about being a backup, he asked about minimum salary.

  26. 1st problem is he said “we’re just looking to get in the door” is t qb 1 person position? So who is we’re? I am guessing it is him and his people. If I were him and I was qb looking for a team I would have said “all I’m looking for is a foot in the door” if that doesn’t show he has anterior motives then nothing does

  27. Kap was a gimmick. Teams eventually found a way to disrupt it. Kap got benched. Kap pouted and sat on the bench during pregame festivities. After people started calling out his childish behavior, only then did Kap kneel and claim it was because of race…aaaand, like everyone else is stating, if dude really wanted a chance, he’d be willing to play in the USFL. Dude just loves playing martyr more than he loves playing football

  28. If I were Pete Carroll, I’d offer him a minimum contract with incentives. Bring him in as a camp arm. If he works out, great. If not, they can say they made good on their statement from years ago. Seattle had a void of talent at QB. They could do worse than Kaepernick (like starting Lock). Tampa would be another one. They are already known for diversity on their staff and such. If he’s willing to take a minimum contract to be a camp arm, I’d offer it and see what happens. Kaepernick’s biggest blocker is himself. He’s gotta put down the microphone, get off his soap box, and start looking like a guy that actually wants to play. These interviews don’t help his cause. Silence and some solid training film might.

  29. Pig socks and praising Fidel Castro; end of discussion. You act like all he did was kneel. He did much more and became very antagonizing with the way he went about things. It’s a free country and he can handle it the way he sees fit but actions have consequences. Quit carrying his water for him. He made his bed and now he gets to lie in it. Why does the media feel like they always have to coddle certain people and make excuses for their behavior? Making excuses for people’s behavior leads to a victim mindset and suppression which is exactly what we are trying to avoid in this country. Kap is a grown man and is very capable of handling the consequences of his choices. Being a free country works both ways, and this is how things are supposed to work.

  30. Deshaun Watson got a mega deal.
    No one is going to convince me that Kap wouldn’t have a job if he had starting QB talent!

  31. I didn’t care about when he kneeled. But his comments since, about both football and the US are insane, and I just want no more of this guy.
    Plus the notion that he increased Nike’s value by 6 billion shows his level of narcissistic grandiosity.

  32. You guys literally had a bunch of USFL articles in the past two days. WHY hasn’t he joined one of those teams to show he’s still got his stuff?

  33. Please, please, stop with the Kap stuff. He was good for two years, ten plus years ago. My God, he was benched for Blaine Gabbert, because he sucked. Vick got a second chance after dog fighting, Watson just signed a contract for 200M plus guaranteed. Reason being is after all of that teams knew/know those qbs could play.

  34. A lot more than 30% of the fan bases hate him, and it’s about a lot more than his kneeling.

  35. Dude just loves playing martyr more than he loves playing football
    —–
    Bingo. And problem is you can’t do both. If he came back and stunk up the place then the black-balled narrative is gone, and everything goes up in smoke. Dude literally couldn’t risk it so he didn’t give interviews, he didn’t make it known he’d do whatever it took, instead he hid and blew up what few opportunities did come his way. He’s a fraud.

  36. The amount of drama that a team is willing to put up with is in direct relation to how much production that player will bring to the team. Colin Kaepernick‘s level of production will be very small, and his level of drama will be extremely high. So no team will touch him. The Browns were willing to take on a lot of the drama that Deshaun Watson brings because his production on the field will be extremely high. But they would cut the back up guy who had one accusation of sexual assault against him because that player is not worth the headaches and the drama that his off the field situation brings

  37. It’s surprising that someone as woke as Keap misses the obvious. He offended people, and there’s no chance he gets back in the league until he apologizes and says he was wrong, and writes a few checks to appropriate groups (financial assistance for families of fallen police officers etc.)

    Like it or not (and I say without hesitation that I do NOT like it), the groveling apology is the standard requirement for continued employment after you’ve said/done anything controversial (there are numerous examples of people on different parts of the political spectrum from Kaep suffering this exact fate).

    Some may feel that what he did was not offensive and that he does not owe an apology, but this would be misunderstanding the world we live in. In the enlightened modern age anybody has a right to be offended about anything. The person causing the (supposed) offense has no right to question whether taking offense was reasonable or not.

    Kaep’s certainly not the first person to have to choose between principles and employment.
    He doesn’t have to like it, but it’s the way it is (for everyone, sadly, not just him).

  38. Let’s get this straight.the NFL does not OWE Kaepernick a job.and why does he choose to not discuss this with a professional reporter?

  39. “But that’s not where I’m staying. And when I prove that I’m a starter, I want to be able to step on the field as such. ”

    And this is why no one will bring him in. After your starter has one bad game, the clamoring for him to start, regardless of whether or not he has earned it, would be absolutely deafening and any attempt to keep him on the bench would be ascribed to having ulterior motives.

  40. It’s now the year 2040… Kaepernick is still ready to play… and T.O. just got signed.

  41. Whatever!!! He loves the game ways to play? There are plenty of leagues he could join and play in and share his love for the game. Doug Flutie made it happen in Canada and he did do well the NFL came calling. Kap doesn’t love football he loves himself and money! If he can get back in the NFL he’ll use it to get more controversy money from companies like NIke!
    Kap you want to play? Then go play!

  42. I’m with Kap. The guy was blackballed by the NFL, not due to his skills but due to expressing his First Amendment rights. The league effectively admitted it, that’s why he got a huge settlement.

    There is no way you can tell me with a straight face that Colin Kaepernick is worse at football than Brian Hoyer, Brandon Allen, Mason Rudolph, Jeff Driskel, Sam Ehlinger, Logan Woodside, Brett Rypien, Cooper Rush, Tim Boyle, or Sean Mannion.

    These are all guys that are SECOND STRING on NFL depth charts right now, this minute. That’s to say nothing of 3rd-4th stringers.

    This man should be on a roster and the only reason he’s not, frankly speaking, is that no owner has the balls to stand up to the haters and losers that make up 30% of every fan base.

  43. The biggest problem is that Colin K wanted to be a martyr back in 2016 more than a QB. Now that his wave of attention has waned, he wants to be a QB again. There are guys out there trying all they can to make it to the NFL. He hasn’t shown anywhere near the drive to do the same. He wants things handed to him on a silver platter. His attitude is finally changing, but he’s not showing enough.

  44. Regardless how you slice it CK wasn’t the least bit concerned (at least publicly) about becoming a SJW until after he was benched for Blaine Gabbert. Let that sink in.

  45. For all the ridiculous mishegos that goes on in this league, someone should sign the guy and give him a shot. There certainly is a dearth of capable QBs in the league.

  46. USFL should talk him into joining a team to boost attendance. People would go to the games just for the chance to boo him. USFL wins, Kaep wins.

  47. Hear me out on this: I don’t think he set out to be a complete fraud, but that’s the net for it. First of all, he has civil rights hero/celebrity status but he literally refuses to vote! Doesn’t “get” that you can’t do anything without voting! He’s literally against it! So, he’s a fraud there. Then the football thing. Could you imagine Tom Brady staying away from football for this long without playing somewhere.. anywhere… CFL of whatever he had do to do prove people wrong?! Kap doesn’t love the game, he loves the money and the fame. He’s a fraud there, too!

  48. Kaep is nothing but a cautionary tale at this point. Don’t throw your life and career away over politics. Silly hobby that is good for nobody.

  49. “That’s without question. To your point, what you saw out here, that’s five years of training behind the scenes, to make sure I’m ready and stay ready at the highest level. You don’t do that if you don’t have a passion” – or you want another shot at a huge payday after you walked away from $12.5 million guaranteed money from the 49ers to test the lucrative free agent market only to find out nobody wanted you.

  50. The NFL made a payment to settle collusion claims. I though that by accepting the cash, he agreed he was done. If he came back, would he file another suit ? What GM wants to explain that to his owner.

  51. He’s spent 5 years passing up opportunities to play in the XFL, AAF, Canada, USFL, etc. And just imagine how much rust there would be on his game after 5 years. His actions speak far louder than his words claiming he wants to play.

  52. berniemadoffsides says:
    April 18, 2022 at 10:43 am

    Try the USFL or XFL. If you feel you’re THAT good, go dominate that league. The NFL will come calling.
    ========================================================================
    Kaepernick wanted $20 million to play in the XFL back in 2020. So Kaepernick obviously didn’t really want to play, even back then. He knew there was no way they could do that.

  53. thetooloftools says:
    April 18, 2022 at 12:08 pm

    “That’s without question. To your point, what you saw out here, that’s five years of training behind the scenes, to make sure I’m ready and stay ready at the highest level. You don’t do that if you don’t have a passion” – or you want another shot at a huge payday after you walked away from $12.5 million guaranteed money from the 49ers to test the lucrative free agent market only to find out nobody wanted you.

    ——————————————————————————————–

    I’d put myself as one of the biggest Kaepernick critics on here. But I’ll defend him here. He didn’t walk away from a guaranteed contract. The 49ers could have cut him and he would have got nothing. And they would have cut him.

  54. “Unless and until it does, he’s not getting the opportunity that he has deserved every single day for more than 1,800 days.”
    —————————-
    Deserved? He is not entitled to play football. Playing football is a privilege, not right. Deserved?

  55. An NFL team just signed a guy to a. $230M guaranteed contract who has over 20 sexual assault accusations. If a team thought he could play he would be on a roster.

  56. I wish someone would just give someone would give him a serious opportunity.

    If he is good enough, great. Sign him up. If he isn’t, then hopefully this tyoe of article goes away.

    Either way, it seems some need closure on the issue.

  57. If Kap was never benched for Gabbert the whole knee protest idea would have never been born. Remember, Kap wore an ear-to-ear grin when he stole the job from Alex Smith.

  58. Pro wrestling can have heels and villains, the NFL can not have a player most fans hate

  59. “This man should be on a roster and the only reason he’s not, frankly speaking, is that no owner has the balls to stand up to the haters and losers that make up 30% of every fan base.”
    ————–

    Sure- every business should go out of its way to hire someone who 30 percent of customers hate- makes total sense! Especially when said candidate has bit the hand that feeds him every chance he gets.

  60. apparently his talent is not at the same level as Watson’s.
    Actions have consequences
    unless youre really really good

  61. He’s wrong…..the Seahawk’s have a “starter.” He’s the number 9th pick in this year’s draft or Drew Lock. With Geno Smith signed as the backup QB, there is simply no reason to add Kaepernick. Adding him to compete for a starting job would bring absolute chaos to the team. I like chaos, so I’m not opposed to giving him a work out during preseason, but I doubt it would ever happen.

  62. I dont get the infatuation some seem to have with this guy. He was never that good to begin with, its been too long, and the risk outweighs the possible reward. Remember, the kneeling thing didnt come till after being questioned for sulking after being benched. It amazing so many dont remember that.

  63. The USFL has an open door that hundreds of other men swallowed their pride and walked through for a chance. If Kaep truly wanted to play and has the passion for the game he claims to have, he would do the same. All he needs is a chance? I saw the empty stadiums the USFL were playing in, I have no doubt they would welcome Kaep with open arms.

  64. I have a different take on this. Each year 31 teams will not win the Super Bowl, and 18 teams will not make the playoffs. One team should hire him at the mimimum, and immediately make him the first-string QB. The team will get exposure, NFL increases revenue, the collusion narrative will fall, the team goes 0-17, NFL can say they gave him another chance, CK moves on, and this team will get 1st pick in the draft, which they can use on the best QB talent for a winning record the following year.

    And I agree with the other poster, it should be the Vikings.

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