clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Colin Kaepernick is still an NFL free agent. These are the rumored reasons why

There are plenty of rumors as to why teams won’t sign Kaepernick, so we’re keeping tabs on them.

San Francisco 49ers v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers on March 3. Since then, there hasn’t been so much as a whisper that would indicate he was close to being signed by any of the NFL’s other franchises.

There have been plenty of reasons cited for Kaepernick’s unemployment, some more ridiculous than others. All of them unnecessary. And while excuses for not signing Kaepernick keep popping up, players who don’t match his skills nor have the experience he does — like Josh McCown, Brian Hoyer, Mark Sanchez, and Nick Foles — have all received contracts this offseason.

Kaepernick has played in two NFC Championships and one Super Bowl where the 49ers were just yards short of a victory. Nobody else mentioned comes close to that experience and the numbers he put up.

We’re going to keep tabs on those reasons for Kaepernick’s lack of a deal. It’s a blackballing that is not only unfortunate but shows the lengths that NFL teams will go to in order to keep him out of the game.

Kaepernick’s a distraction

One of the biggest stories from the 2016 NFL season was Kaepernick’s decision to protest the oppression of minorities in the United States by taking a knee during the national anthem. His actions caused a wave of protests around the country, helping bring an awareness towards police brutality and other problems minorities face.

Despite saying he would be standing for the national anthem in 2017, Kaepernick remains unsigned.

An AFC general manager told Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, "[NFL teams] genuinely hate him and can't stand what he did [kneeling for the national anthem]. They want nothing to do with him. They won't move on. They think showing no interest is a form of punishment. I think some teams also want to use Kaepernick as a cautionary tale to stop other players in the future from doing what he did."

As far as it being a distraction goes, former 49ers coach Chip Kelly doesn’t buy it.

“There was zero distraction,” Kelly told The MMQB. “He met with the team immediately after [his first protest]. He met with the other team leaders. He explained his position and where he was coming from. And literally, that was it. Colin was focused on football. He was all about the team and trying to help us win.”

NFL teams don’t want a “nasty tweet” from Donald Trump

While at a rally in Louisville, President Donald Trump indicated why he believed Kaepernick hadn’t been signed by an NFL team — his Twitter account.

The comment came a week after Freeman wrote about why Kaepernick had not been signed yet. In the article, an unnamed AFC general manager said, “Some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or [President Donald] Trump will tweet about the team. I'd say that number is around 10 percent. Then there's another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings.”

Besides the “nasty tweet” comment, Trump added, “I said if I remember that [article] I’m going to report it to the people of Kentucky. Cause they like it when people actually stand for the American flag, right?”

His vegan diet

In late March, a report from Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area noted that Kaepernick’s diet was now a concern.

“At season’s end, Colin Kaepernick stated he was fully committed to football. But some teams are unconvinced and wonder about his vegan diet.”

Kaepernick doesn’t eat animal products for ethical reasons. Other NFL players who are vegans have played the game at a high level, one being future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez. Tom Brady is also mostly vegan, and he’s very much adored by many.

The diet, combined with three surgeries, made it tougher for Kaepernick to get back to a healthy playing weight, but he did indeed get his weight back up.

He isn’t focused because of his charitable work

On May 8, NFL Network’s Steve Wyche appeared on Up to the Minute and said that teams think that Kaepernick is more focused on his “social conscious work.” This came days after he was handing out suits to parolees in New York with the nonprofit 100 Suits.

This report comes despite what now-former 49ers head coach Chip Kelly told The MMQB’s Michael Rosenberg. “When Colin is with us, he is 100 percent football,” Kelly says. “There’s not, ‘Hey, Coach, I don’t have time for this.’ That was never him. [The protest] never affected how he worked or what our workplace was like. And that’s a credit to Colin.”

Kaepernick is still very much interested in playing football, despite his charity work:

Donating suits to parolees, getting a plane to take supplies to Somalia, as well as contributing $50,000 to Meals on Wheels is plenty of work. But it’s not enough to keep him from focusing on football.

Fans don’t want him on their team

Giants owner John Mara told the MMQB that, even though the team never considered signing Kaepernick in the first place, fan mail was a concern of his.

“All my years being in the league, I never received more emotional mail from people than I did about that issue,” Mara said. “If any of your players ever do that, we are never coming to another Giants game. It wasn’t one or two letters. It was a lot. It’s an emotional, emotional issue for a lot of people, moreso than any other issue I’ve run into.”

The disapproval of Kaepernick’s protest by many is known — but upset fan mail isn’t necessarily unusual.

The reasons listed above are just the ones that have been reported, but as the offseason continues and the season gets closer, don’t be surprised to hear even more.