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Malcolm Jenkins: Kaepernick protest was “genius”


during their game at Lincoln Financial Field on December 22, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Al Bello

Many people have said many things about former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to not stand for the national anthem throughout the 2016 season. Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins recently applied a term that few have.

“Now that you look back at the season and what’s transpired since then, I think Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel or take a seat or to protest the national anthem was genius and worked better than I think he even probably assumed at first,” Jenkins recently told ESPN. “Because here we are a year later and it’s still a topic of conversation, and it sparked a conversation that’s been long-lasting. And since then, guys have really moved into action and have been doing a lot in the community.”

One of the reasons it continues to be a topic of conversation is that Kaepernick continues to be unemployed. And despite the various flawed assumptions and false narratives about Kaepernick’s situation and intentions, the reality is that few if any teams have engaged in the kind of due diligence that happens constantly with available players, perhaps because coaches and executives know they’re wasting their time doing homework on a player their owner will never employ.

And so instead of embracing the chance to improve a given team with a guy whose performance wasn’t nearly as bad last year as the Kaepernick Truthers would insist (16 touchdown passes, four interceptions, 90.7 passer rating, 6.8 yards per pass, 6.8 yards per run), the various teams with needs at the position have ignored him. And while Seahawks coach Pete Carroll on the surface did Kaepernick a favor by declaring him to be “a starter in this league,” Kaepernick is now caught in the gulf between being deemed not good enough to start in some places, and too good to be a backup in others.

The real question becomes whether his name will be included on the list of quarterbacks that teams will call when they suffer injuries at the position. Even if a given team will go “next man up” for the starting job, will Kaepernick be given the chance to backfill the spot on the depth chart?