A month before National Football League teams begin preseason training, one of the league’s best-known players has yet to find a team willing to employ him.
That may be because this player, Colin Kaepernick, is known lately as much for his political positions as for his performance on the field.
Are NFL teams sending the right message if they keep Colin Kaepernick sidelined?
That’s our Question of the Week for readers.
Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers the past six years, became a controversial figure in 2016 when he sat or knelt during pregame playings of the national anthem, explaining that he was protesting racial inequality in the United States.
Football analysts say Kaepernick, 29, is not as good a player as he was when he led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in the 2012 season and the conference championship game the following year. But they say he would be valuable to most teams as a backup quarterback, capable of filling in if a starter is injured.
One team official, New York Giants co-owner John Mara, came out and said Kaepernick’s job search is hindered by his political protests. Mara said fans have told him, “If any of your players ever do that, we are never coming to another Giants game.”
Kaepernick critics say he is unpatriotic and ungrateful to the country where he has become a highly paid athlete. Defenders, including some other athletes, say he has acted on conscience and is as entitled as any American to express his opinions.
If Kaepernick is snubbed by NFL teams, what message does the league send about players’ — or any company’s employees’ — freedom to express unpopular opinions?
Are teams right to bypass Kaepernick while employing players who are guilty of violent crimes?
What would your reaction be if the Los Angeles Rams or Los Angeles Chargers signed Kaepernick for the season that starts in September?
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We’ll publish as many responses as possible.