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Tom Jones: Don't stand for NFL teams not signing Colin Kaepernick

This is a story about a quarterback. A pretty good quarterback, or so his resume would suggest.

He led a team to a Super Bowl. He has been to two conference championship games. He has started 58 games in the NFL. He has completed nearly 60 percent of his passes and has thrown twice as many touchdown passes (72) as interceptions (30). And if need be, he's a heck of a runner.

He has done all this and he's still not 30 years old.

And you're telling me this quarterback is not one of the best 64 quarterbacks in the world?

Yet, Colin Kaepernick does not have an NFL job.

Not as one of the league's 32 starters. Not as one of the league's 32 backups. He remains a free agent.

A quarterback without a team because in the eyes of many, he's a man without a country.

Though he might not be the same quarterback who led the 49ers to NFC Championship Game appearances in 2012 and 2013, we all can agree that he's talented enough to be on somebody's roster. So, why isn't he?

Simple. It's about his politics. It's about him taking a knee during the national anthem last season and starting a movement.

Now, there's no proof that his protest is behind him being unemployed, but what else could it be?

Josh McCown has a job. So does Geno Smith. Mark "Butt Fumble'' Sanchez is drawing a paycheck, for crying out loud. But Kaepernick isn't?

Here's what cinched it for me. Blaine Gabbert is 9-31 as a starter, and the Cardinals just signed him. Where was Gabbert last season? He was Kaepernick's backup.

Don't tell me this isn't political. And don't tell me it's okay or that Kaepernick is getting what he deserves. No one deserves to lose a job for what Kaepernick did.

He did nothing wrong except exercise his rights as an American citizen to peacefully protest. Since then, he has ended his kneeling, started intelligent conversations about race and donated his own money to worthy causes.

To ostracize him, if that's indeed what is going on, is flat-out wrong. It's wrong that teams might not take a chance on him because they think too many of their fans won't like it.

Let me get this straight. We forgive Michael Vick for killing dogs. We forgive Adrian Peterson for beating his child with a switch. We forgive Richie Incognito for being a bully and Ben Roethlisberger for being a slimeball and Adam "Pacman" Jones for being a jerk.

But we can't forgive a guy because he wants everyone to be treated equally in a country where it's painfully clear not everyone is treated equally?

His protest wasn't meant to disrespect the military. And many veterans point out that freedom of speech and freedom to protest are the very reasons they served. You can't claim this is the greatest country on earth because of our freedoms, then not allow citizens to exercise those freedoms.

There are other theories for why Kaepernick isn't signed.

Some claim he might not be happy being a backup. Then again, what's wrong with having a QB who works hard in practice in case he gets a chance to play?

Some claim his style doesn't fit any team's offense. That's a weak excuse. He is smart enough to adapt to any style and still bring his brand of improvisation, if needed.

Some believe he wants too much money, though word is no team has even reached out to him.

There's nothing to indicate he's a bad teammate or disruptive in the locker room. He was believed to be well-liked and respected in San Francisco by teammates.

There has to be a team out there that could use him. I can think of one immediately: the Bucs.

If Jameis Winston went down for two or three games, wouldn't you rather have filling in a guy who has played in a Super Bowl rather than a 27-year-old (Ryan Griffin) who has never taken a snap in an NFL regular-season game?

But it won't happen. The Bucs won't sign him. Maybe no one will.

That's a shame. And it's wrong.

Hopefully, some team will have the courage to do what's right and give Kaepernick a chance.

After all, he represents something all Americans should be proud of.

And he's a decent quarterback, too.

Contact Tom Jones at tjones@tampabay.com. Follow @tomwjones.

Tom Jones: Don't stand for NFL teams not signing Colin Kaepernick 05/11/17 [Last modified: Thursday, May 11, 2017 10:44pm]
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