Football

The problem with kneeling: Why Kaepernick should have an NFL job and Tebow shouldn’t

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) kneels along side teammate Eric Reed during the national anthem before a game last September.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) kneels along side teammate Eric Reed during the national anthem before a game last September. AP

One man knelt in a show of his Christian faith.

Another did so to protest against police brutality and racial injustice in our country.

Tim Tebow, who is well known for his openness about his faith, would often kneel in celebration and thankfulness during NFL games – a term later deemed “Tebowing.”

Now, he is long gone from the league and working as a college football analyst for ESPN and playing minor league baseball.

Colin Kaepernick, on the other hand, knelt during the national anthem last season while playing for the San Francisco 49ers to draw attention to what he believed to be racially-based police brutality in our country.

Today, he has no job.

In my mind, neither are on NFL squads in part for the “distraction” factor. Personally, I have no problem with either expressing themselves and nor should the NFL.

However, Kaepernick – not Tebow – should be on an NFL roster.

Just look at the numbers.

I often still hear folks who love Tebow argue that he’s a winner and should be an NFL quarterback. While he did have some success in Denver, his career numbers just aren’t up to par.

He has a career completion percentage of just under 48 percent. Last year, that would have placed him 77th among 81 quarterbacks to have completed a pass.

Kaepernick ranked 52nd at 59.2, more than 10 percent higher than Tebow’s career average. Kaepernick’s career average is a bit higher than his figure from last year at 59.8.

Kaepernick’s career rating is 88.9, whereas Tebow’s is 75.3.

In fact, Kaepernick was pretty good last year on a bad 49ers team. He threw for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns compared to just four interceptions and sported a 90.7 rating in 12 games.

So why would these two strangely have so much in common at this time?

NFL teams pretend they don’t like distractions.

Tebow is such a a polarizing figure – even now with the Class-A Columbia Fireflies, with whom he entered Sunday’s game batting .219 – that even if he was your third-string quarterback he would likely have a media circus following. That being said, he also has shown no interest in changing positions in an attempt to play in the league.

Kaepernick’s antics were magnified for his kneeling – as well as his openness with his political thoughts – last season. It was also thought he would be looking for a huge contract and starting position. Since, that talk has died off and it was rumored he and the Seahawks would link up so he could back up fellow mobile quarterback Russell Wilson.

Now those talks appear to be dead.

50There’s less than 50 days before NFL veterans are to report for training camp.

So let’s get to the heart of the matter with Kaepernick.

Many are missing the point with him kneeling, saying it was disrespectful to those who serve – and have served – our country.

Those who serve, in fact, fight for our right to be a free country, and in a free country you are allowed to protest and speak your mind. Therefore, those folks have fought for Kaepernick’s right to kneel during the national anthem, like it or not. In many countries, you don’t have the right to disagree with those in power.

While I think there is a problem with racial inequality when it comes to policing, I probably wouldn’t have chosen to kneel during the national anthem. But who am I to tell him what to do, especially when he’s someone who probably better understands the issue?

While being labeled by many a “distraction” last season, Kaepernick put his money where his mouth is during the season, donating the first $1 million he made to charities that help communities in need.

That being said, NFL teams collectively are wrong for allowing this guy to linger in free agency.

According to recent comments from New York Giants owner John Mara, signing Kaepernick could dissuade fans from coming.

“All my years being in the league, I never received more emotional mail from people than I did about that issue,” Mara said told TheMMQB.com. “If any of your players ever do that, we are never coming to another Giants game. It wasn’t one or two letters. It was a lot. It’s an emotional, emotional issue for a lot of people, moreso than any other issue I’ve run into.”

Because that’s the league’s only problem … right?

Just take a look down NFL rosters and look at how many players with real character issues – and arrest records – are filling spots. Heck, my team, the Cincinnati Bengals, just drafted Joe Mixon; have you seen the video of him decking a woman?

But NFL teams will do anything to avoid distractions, right?

It’s time someone steps up and signs Kaepernick.

The same reason he knelt is exactly why I have the right to express my views in this column.

Whether you agree or not.

On tap

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans play at Buies Creek on Monday and Tuesday (7 p.m. for both), are off Wednesday, and then play a four-game home set against Carolina from Thursday through Sunday (all games 7:05 p.m., except Sunday’s 6:05 p.m. start). … The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series heads to Pocono Raceway for the Pocono 400 on Sunday (3 p.m., FS1). … The NHL’s Stanley Cup finals continue with Game 4 on Monday (8 p.m., NBC), Game 5 on Thursday (8 p.m., NBC) and Game 6 on Sunday, if necessary (8 p.m., NBC). … The NBA Finals continue with Game 3 on Wednesday (9 p.m., ABC) and Game 5 on Monday, if necessary (9 p.m., ABC). … The PGA Tour heads to Memphis, Tenn., for the FexEx St. Jude Classic from Thursday through Sunday. … In tennis, the ATP and WTA tours continue play in the French Open. … The United States Men’s National Team begins World Cup soccer qualifying with a match against Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday and a match against Mexico on Sunday.

David Wetzel: 843-626-0295, @MYBSports

Colin Kaepernick career stats

GP

Comp. %

Yards

TD

Int

Rating

69

59.8

12,271

72

30

88.9

Tim Tebow career stats

GP

Comp. %

Yards

TD

Int

Rating

35

47.9

2,422

17

9

75.3

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