Would you hire Colin Kaepernick to quarterback your NFL Team? There’s a reason he doesn’t have a job. NFL owners are not racists, denying Kaepernick a job because he’s black, but they are capitalists. In the past, I have been very critical of the leniency they’ve shown to individuals with questionable character. Owners and general managers have sought a competitive advantage by hiring players with bad behavior and criminal backgrounds as long as they produce on the field. Kaepernick does not have a criminal record but his behavior, judgement, and common sense has been questionable.
This is not a First Amendment issue but an economic one. Of course, Kaepernick has a right to say anything he wants but he does not have a right to play in the NFL; it’s a privilege. As a free agent, you can sign an employment contract and become a member of an organization where you have to abide by that organization’s rules, as well as the agreed upon regulations specified in the NFL collective bargaining agreement. Some organizations are more lenient in the behavior that they’ll accept, but every owner has his limits.
What’s happened here is the market value of Kaepernick is being established. The addition of him to a team’s roster is being judged to be more detrimental in terms of lost fan support and declining revenue than the additional gains from on field performance and whatever fan support his actions may garner.
I have no presumed knowledge of how to run a NFL Team, but as a manager of people in the private sector for over 20 years, I understand that when making hiring decisions, you look at a combination of economics, skills, attitude, and cultural fit. The businesses I’ve worked for have no million-person fan bases or television contracts, but the decision making process around hiring is quite similar. Kaepernick has disrespected the American flag and that makes a huge number of NFL fans angry and resentful. As a prospective hiring manager, that sends up red flags that would disqualify him for consideration. I believe Kaepernick got the message and started a charitable foundation to responsibly support the causes he believes in, which is what he should have done in-lieu of his anthem protest, but the damage to his reputation has been done.
On a personal note, most folks know I am a life long supporter of the Washington Redskins and I dislike (kind word) the Dallas Cowboys. But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has made it crystal clear of the organizational disapproval that he has for player anthem protests. Don’t expect to see any Cowboys players disrespecting the flag in the coming season. I am with Jones on this one and believe players should stand for the anthem, face the flag and show the honor and respect of what it represents.
If Colin Kaepernick wants back in the NFL, he should apologize for his actions, indicate his protest was misguided and encourage people concerned with the social injustice of his cause and the appropriate way to provide support. He should also promise to stand for the anthem while encouraging his fellow players to do the same. I guarantee you some money hungry NFL owner would then take a chance.