He became a social justice warrior icon for his “brave” decision to kneel during the national anthem, but now, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is ready to drop the shtick if it means that he’ll have an easier time landing a new NFL contract and ending his suffering as a free agent.
Kaepernick instantly became one of the most polarizing figures in sports last year when he refused to rise during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” either remaining seated for most preseason games and kneeling for the regular-season games.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said after the fact. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
However, just a day after the NFL Network revealed that Kaepernick has opted out of his contract with the 49ers and is now a free agent, an ESPN report found that the quarterback “no longer wants his method of protest to detract from the positive change he believes has been created.”
Translation: Kaepernick’s handlers realized how devastating his antics were to the 49ers brand and are desperately trying to clean up his image in order to get him signed to literally any other team, even though he made NFL history by becoming the first quarterback to get sacked five times and throw for fewer than five yards in a single game. Pathetic.
While Kaepernick’s teammates seem convinced that he was some sort of social justice messiah – they gave him the Len Eshmont Award, after all – sports fans beg to differ, blasting Kaepernick as a hypocrite for sniffing out a new contract even though it means abandoning the very protest that made him such a hit on Tumblr and its ilk.