Since his departure from the San Francisco 49ers following the 2016 NFL regular season, Colin Kaepernick has remained unsigned, which many attribute to the backlash surrounding his public protests at NFL games against police brutality.
While a number of supporters inside and outside of the NFL believe that he is more than worthy of being given an opportunity at a chance to return as a quarterback for an NFL organization, some detractors have alluded to Kaepernick possibly being unwilling to accept a role as a backup as one of the factors that have kept him out of the league.
Yet, during a recent appearance on the I Am Athlete podcast, Kaepernick shut down any notion that he’d balk at being a backup, acknowledging that he’ll have to begin his entry back into the NFL on the bench, but that he intends to prove his worth and eventually work himself back into a starting role.
“I know I have to find my way back in,” said Kaepernick. “So, yeah, if I have to come in as a backup, that’s 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.”
“No team’s brought me in for a workout,” he continued. “No team has brought me in for an opportunity. I had the one meeting with Seattle [Seahawks] 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.” Kaepernick referenced the lack of a bonafide starter on the Seahawks following the organization’s trade of Russell Wilson, who was the Seahawks’ incumbent QB at the time of his aforementioned workout to the Denver Broncos.
I Am Athlete host Brandon Marshall, a former NFL player himself, brought up the vantage point of an NFL general manager or owner being worried about how Kaepernick’s signing would be received by their fanbase. The former Super Bowl participant said that train of thought is in direct conflict with the NFL’s perceived fight against racial inequality, which has been heavily promoted and included in the marketing of the NFL and its players.
“You have End Racism in the back of your end zone,” noted the 34-year-old. “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…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.”
Watch the Colin Kaepernick’s appearance on I Am Athlete below.