Colin Kaepernick, a marginal NFL quarterback who became famous for taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem, is making a return of sorts to the NFL. EA Sports announced that Kaepernick would be included in this year’s edition of Madden NFL video game — one of the most popular games on the market.
It will be Kaepernick’s first appearance on the game roster since 2016. Since then, pro football teams have shunned the quarterback largely because they can get a backup quarterback who is younger and cheaper and his advocacy against the “oppression” of blacks and against police brutality made his brand toxic to front offices.
“Colin Kaepernick is one of the top free agents in football and a starting-caliber quarterback,” EA Sports said in a statement Monday. “The team at EA SPORTS, along with millions of Madden NFL fans, want to see him back in our game.”
The company said it worked with Kaepernick to bring his character back to the video game, including the selection of his “signature celebration.” After a big play or touchdown, Kaepernick will raise his fist in the air as a symbol of Black Power.
“Systemic racism” didn’t seem to bother Kaepernick. The last contract he signed was for a guaranteed $13 million. The contract was potentially worth $126 million. According to Business Insider, Kaepernick had received $39 million of that $126 million salary as of 2017.
This is America. When we “oppress” people, we go big or go home.
Kaepernick, 32, last played in an NFL game during the 2016 season, as a member of the San Francisco 49ers. That was also the year he kneeled during the national anthem, as a means of protesting police brutality and systemic racism. His absence from the league has long been a source of frustration for his supporters, who believe he has been blackballed in connection with the protests.
It’s very true that NFL franchises have “blackballed” Kaepernick. They have every right to do so. NFL teams are private entities and the Supreme Court has ruled on several occasions that an employee’s political views can affect employment.
EA Sports tried to build Kaepernick up into the second coming of Joe Montana.
In announcing the move, EA Sports called Kaepernick “a starting-caliber quarterback,” according to a statement posted to Twitter.
“Knowing that our EA Sports experiences are platforms for players to create, we want to make Madden NFL a place that reflects Colin’s position and talent, rates him as a starting QB, and empowers our fans to express their hopes for the future of football,” the statement said.
“We’ve worked with Colin to make this possible, and we’re excited to bring it to all of you today.”
If Kaepernick was a “starting-caliber quarterback,” he would be starting on an NFL team. Owners aren’t real choosy about who they sign to play for them. If they have the talent and can produce, they’re in. And that includes criminals, wife-beaters, rapists, and all sorts of reprobates who belong in jail, not playing in front of millions of adoring fans on Sunday afternoon.
They’d put up with Kaepernick’s antics if he produced on the field. Of that much, we’re sure.
But Kaepernick is, at best, a marginal player. With the salary cap, most teams don’t want to pay what Kaepernick is asking for. They can easily find another backup quarterback who not only would be cheaper but wouldn’t be a lightning rod for controversy. Owners don’t much care about black and white one way or another. All they care about is green.
Kaepernick’s last year as a starting quarterback, this team went 1-10. In his career, he’s two games below .500. His passing rating is a slightly above average 81. His completion percentage, his yards after the catch, and his touchdown-to-interception ratio are all about average or below.
These are not Hall of Fame creds. They are the statistics of a journeyman player.
If you want to choose Colin Kaepernick for your Madden team or your fantasy league, that’s your choice. The record indicates you’d be making a mistake.