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An argument for and against Colin Kaepernick’s return to the NFL

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Training camps begin at the end of July, and Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned by an NFL team.

There are two sides to the argument as to why Colin Kaepernick isn’t on an NFL roster. One argument is because he’s the victim of an elitist organization’s attempts to silence his efforts to make strides for an oppressed people. The other is because he struggled to grasp the subtle nuances of offensive scheme in the NFL, especially when those schemes became more complex. Maybe it was a little of both. Maybe it’s neither argument that was correct.

Either way, he’s still waits by the phone to hear a call from somebody’s head coach or general manager.

Kaepernick was a two-sport phenom who played his college ball at the University of Nevada. They’re mostly famous for their “pistol” offense. The quarterback never lines up under center and is given a small number of reads to make in the passing game (maybe two). If nothing was there, Kaepernick was often relied upon to make things happen with his legs. His college success was a result of his athletic superiority. Unfortunately, in the NFL, everyone’s a great athlete.

The argument for the NFL:

Photo Credit – Rolling Stone

The early part of Kaepernick’s pro career was spent backing up Alex Smith on the San Francisco 49ers’ roster. Then, former head coach Jim Harbaugh had an idea. With playmakers everywhere on the offensive side of the ball, he’d substitute Kaepernick for Smith on offense. Smith was reasonably athletic but lacked Kaepernick’s speed and cannon-like arm. There was just one problem. Kaepernick was struggling to adapt to the complexity of the NFL game and the 49ers’ offensive playbook, so Harbaugh simplified it. “Kap” won early, but as scheme and film study began to take over, he struggled.

Long touchdown runs began to evaporate as teams learned to defend him. The cannon-like arm began to draw criticism as it was learned he lacked touch. Defenses knew what the 49ers intended to do offensively, and on one occasion, a national audience watched the Arizona Cardinals picked off multiple interceptions as the 49ers endured one of the most embarrassing losses of the Kaepernick era.

Mr. Kaepernick, a man who’s competed less than 60 percent of his passes for his career, would eventually lose the starting job to Blaine Gabbert who is still trying to prove he belongs in the NFL.

The argument for Kaepernick:

Coming out of college, Kaepernick had tremendous upside. NFL scouts were raving. The 49ers made him the 36th-overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. They thought enough about him to trade up and give away three picks to make his selection (picks 45, 108, and 141 overall).

After being given the starting role in 2012, Kaepernick helped lead the 49ers to the playoffs. He rushed for 181 yards against the Green Bay Packers, a single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback. That was followed by him leading the 49ers to a come-from-behind victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game. In that season’s Super Bowl, he threw for one touchdown and ran for another as he helped in almost leading the 49ers to another world championship.

Video courtesy of the NFL Films YouTube page

For his career (six seasons), Kaepernick’s thrown for 12, 271 yards. He’s run for another 2,300. He’s tossed 72 touchdowns and reached the end zone 13 times with his legs. He’s proven he can play at a high level in important games. So why isn’t he on an NFL roster?

The verdict:

The truth is most of the reason for Kaepernick’s success was the fact that he played on a 49ers team that was loaded. They were the same team who would have been in the Super Bowl a year prior if they would have been able to field two punts. It was Alex Smith that led them to the brink, not Kaepernick. The latter never showed he was able to beat out the former for the starting role. Instead he was given the position because he played for a coach who was enamored with his physical gifts.

Ladies and gentlemen, there aren’t many decent quarterbacks who couldn’t have been successful with that team

Photo credit – Twitter

Since Harbaugh’s dismissal, Kapernick’s played for two coaches, Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly. Both agreed Blaine Gabbert was the better option. Both relegated “Kap” to the backup role. What’s largely forgotten in talks about protests and things of that nature was Kaepernick wasn’t even the starter at the time. What largely goes unnoticed is the fact that, despite the fact that most of us (myself included) agreed with what he did, there were other players who protested as well, Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles for instance. The NFL and the Eagles organization haven’t gotten rid of him.

I’m just as angered by what still goes on in this country and the way race relations and police brutality are handled. I share Kaepernick’s anger, but that isn’t why he isn’t in the league. He was barely in the league when his protests began, and the theory he’s been treated unfairly goes out the window for a bevy of reasons.

Robert Quinn of the Rams raised his fist in protest and is still in the NFL. So is every member of the Seattle Seahawks who linked arms to protest the same injustice. Kenny Stills and Michael Thomas are still hanging around. D.J. Fluker is still in the league. So is Ron Brooks, Jason McCourty and countless others who protested for the same reason as Mr. Kaepernick. I guess no one remembers the protests ended when he approached free agency. I’m not saying that he wasn’t genuine about his stance, but it is a strange coincidence.

Photo Credit – Sports 360 AZ

Kaepernick struggled to find his way, even in his successful years. When interviewed later about that multi-interception game against the Cardinals, Arizona defensive back Tyrann Mathieu talked about the simplistic approach on offense that the 49ers had taken with Kaepernick under center and how easy it was to prepare for them.

“We knew going into this game that the focus for them was to run the football. Their passing game has just simplified so much, it was easy for us to anticipate routes, get some good breaks on the ball today.”

Ladies and gentlemen. That’s largely the reason his career has stalled. No one loves “Kap” more than me, but it’s time we chill with the conspiracy theories. Things aren’t over. Someone may call because one thing is certain. If Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert are still in the league, Kaepernick deserves a shot somewhere.

Geoffrey Knox

Exposure Magazine Sports Editor

Geoffrey Knox is the creator and the owner of The Thunderstorm Hip Hop Sports & Entertainment Network, co-editor for Inside The Iggles and a contributor for Saturday Blitz. Bookmark Thunderstorm Media on BlogtalkRadio.com, iTunes, TuneIn and Stitcher. Follow him on Twitter @GQ_4_Eva, @stormradio66 @stormsports66 & @insideiggles.

Entertainment

Beyoncé Presents Colin Kaepernick with Muhammad Ali Legacy Award

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Beyoncé made a surprise appearance Tuesday night, presenting ex-49ers player Colin Kaepernick with the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, which honors an athlete who uses their platform to further change.

Setting social media on fire once again with his latest award and surprise presentation from Beyonce, Kaepernick was recently honored by the ACLU of Southern California with the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award. He was also recently named GQ magazine’s “Citizen of the Year” for his activism, which included pledging $1 million to “organizations working in oppressed communities.”

Kaepernick promised that “with or without the NFL’s platform, I will continue to work for the people.” Trevor Noah was instrumental in setting the stage for Beyonce to be present the award to Kaepernick.  Beyonce said she was “proud and humbled” to present the award.

Last year’s Ali Award winner, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, called Kaepernick a “worthy recipient” during a video tribute.

“He fully embraced the risk to his career in order to remind Americans of the systemic racism that was denying African Americans their opportunities to equal education, jobs, health and even their lives,” Abdul-Jabbar said.

Colin Kaepernick receives the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award during the ‘Sports Illustrated’ 2017 Sportsperson of the Year ceremony on Dec. 5, 2017 at Barclays Center in New York City.

Beyoncé known by many across the globe—for her humanitarian, philantropic, and charitable work, took a strong stance on Kaepernick’s actions to protest police brutality at the 2017 Sportsperson of the Year Awards Show in New York.

“Thank you Colin Kaepernick. Thank you for your selfless heart, and your conviction,” Beyonce said in her presentation speech. “Thank you for your personal sacrifice. Colin took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion only hope to change the world for the better. To change perception, to change the way we treat each other, especially people of color.”

In her gracious style, Beyonce continued with her presentation saying,

“We’re still waiting for the world to catch up. It’s been said that racism is so American, that when we protest racism, some assume we are protesting America. So, let’s be very clear. Colin has always been very respectful of the individuals who selfless serve and protect our country and our communities and our families. His message is solely focused on social injustice for historically disenfranchised people. Let’s not get that mistaken.”

Kaepernick’s decision to remain seated while the national anthem played back in 2016 sparked similar protests by NFL players that continue to incite controversy in the present.

Making it clear for his reason for kneeling during the national anthem—Kaepernick remains consistent in stating his reasons are to protest racial inequality and police brutality. The demonstration sparked a wave of protests by NFL players during the anthem that repeatedly have been denounced by President Trump.

Parting ways with the San Francisco 49ers in March, Kaepernick hasn’t been signed by another team. Filing a grievance against the NFL in October, Kaepernick alleges that that he remains unsigned as a result of collusion by owners following his protests.

He spoke Tuesday about continuing Ali’s legacy for fighting social injustice, saying the boxing great “mentored me without ever meeting me.”

“The footprints he leaves are large,” Kaepernick said, “and his life is and has been a multi-textured tapestry that is rich in love, wisdom, life lessons and human kindness. I can only hope that I’m taking steps toward walking on the footsteps that he has left behind for the world to follow.”

In his acceptance speech, Kaepernick said that his “platform is the people.”

“I say this as a person who receives credit for using my platform to protest systemic oppression, racialized injustice and the dire consequences of anti-blackness in America,” he said. “I accept this award not for myself, but on behalf of the people. Because if it were not for my love of the people, I would not have protested. And if it was not for the support from the people, I would not be on this stage today. With or without the NFL’s platform, I will continue to work for the people because my platform is the people.”

Colin Kaepernick attends the 2017 ACLU SoCal’s Bill of Rights Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Mentioned earlier in this report, Kaepernick has been unable to find a new NFL position since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers at the end of the 2016 season, and sued the NFL and its owners in October for collusion against hiring him.

Kaepernick skipped the red carpet prior to the show and was not available for questions. The awards show will be broadcast Friday night on NBC Sports Network.

The 2017 SI Sportsperson of the Year Show will air on NBCSN and on Univision Deportes Network at 8 p.m. ET Dec. 8 and Dec. 9, respectively.

 

LeNora Millen     12-06-17

 

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Exposed

Urlacher’s Hall of Fame Candidacy High Point of Bears’ Rebuilding Season

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Coming off of their most recent home loss to the San Francisco 49ers, tallying only three wins this season, the Chicago Bears are in the midst of a definite rebuild. Despite the question marks and disappointments ranging from the offense, to coaching, to management, the most telling sign of the Bears’ lack of relevancy to this point is how a player who is no longer in the game is somewhat a beacon of hope for fans, at least until the draft comes around.

Calling it a career in 2012, former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher has become one of the talking points for the Windy City for being selected as a semi-finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Posting 1353 tackles, 22 interceptions, 41.5 sacks to go along with his eight pro bowl appearances, four all pro selections and a Defensive Player of the Year award in 2005, the question isn’t if, but when Urlacher will be inducted.

“My body of work is out there and I feel it’s as good as anybody’s, honestly, if you look at my numbers compared to defensive players in the Hall,’’ Urlacher told the Chicago Tribune recently. “But that’s not why I played the game, to get to the Hall of Fame. I never dreamed that when I started playing, I’d have a chance to be in that conversation. So just to be considered is a big deal.’’

Aaron+Rodgers+Brian+Urlacher+2011+NFC+Championship+q21omlNcJcfl.jpg

Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher tackling Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers 

The billed criteria for the hall of fame is on the field accomplishments. However it has been shown on a variety of occasions that numbers alone have not been deemed worthy of the ultimate honor in sports, which is why I can acknowledge that while still presiding on the south side of 30 years old and missing out on the Bear’s lone super bowl victory, Urlacher instilled a culture in Chicago that gave the feeling that our second victory was on the way.

Just falling short of winning Super Bowl XLI, Urlacher maintained that season’s intensity for 13 seasons. Winning Defensive Rookie of the Year to begin his career, maintaining his production for multiple coaches over the years, and even battling injuries in his final years to remain at worst formidable at his position. Revered in the locker room as a true leader and in the community as as genuine as they come, few boxes if any should go unchecked on Urlacher’s ballot.

Being recently selected to the College Football Hall of Fame along with other names such as Peyton Manning, Marshall Faulk and Adrian Peterson, one could only hope that this would be the warm up to his victory lap with the Pro Football Hall of Fame as his starting point. With the final announcement to be made just before this year’s Super Bowl, when the Bears’ season presumably will have been over for quite some time, Chicago will be looking for the grandest thank you to be expressed to one of its’ ultimate winners, patiently waiting for its’ next one.

 

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Business

Lorenzen Wright: Man Arrested in 2010 Murder of Former NBA Center

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Police in Memphis have charged a man with the 2010 murder of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright, according to The Commercial Appeal.

Billy Turner, 46, was indicted Tuesday on a charge of first degree murder. He is being held on $1 million bond. The arrest comes one month after police announced they had found the murder weapon in a Mississippi lake, about 50 miles from where Wright’s body was found on July 28, 2010.

Lorenzen Wright was a star player at the University of Memphis, picked No. 7 in the 1996 NBA Draft ahead of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Jermaine O’Neal, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. He played 13 seasons in the NBA for the Clippers, Hawks, and Grizzlies, among others.

Wright suffered personal and financial difficulties after his playing career ended in 2009. He had been living in Atlanta, but in July 2010 visited Memphis. At about 10:30 in the evening of July 18, his ex-wife said he left her home in Collierville, a Memphis suburb, with drugs and an unspecified amount of cash. He got into a car with an unidentified individual and was never seen again.

Wright called for help on his cell phone shortly after midnight on July 19, and as many as 11 gunshots can be heard on the tape. Wright had at least five gunshot wounds to his body, two to the head, two to the chest, and one to the right forearm. But his body was so badly decomposed by the time it was found that it was impossible to determine whether more shots had hit him.

Police only received 22 tips on Wright’s murder, and none contained substantive information. By December 2010, they indicated that the trail had gone cold.

 

LeNora Millen       12-05-17

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