John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports



Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains a free agent, yet he's still among the hottest of topics in heated debates between fans and analysts alike.


Colin Kaepernick is the most divisive quarterback in San Francisco 49ers history. Maybe even the NFL.

The 29-year-old is, of course, no longer with the 49ers. He's not with anybody. According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports, not a single team has reached out to Kaepernick's camp about a possible job in 2017.

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Why? Because Kap is polarizing. Perhaps the only place that would have embraced him was San Francisco -- a much more progressive-thinking area of the country than most. And yet all one needs to do is sift through Kap-article comments, Twitter and other social media feeds to see just how polarized the feelings are.

As Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman put it, writing a piece on Kaepernick "takes years from your life."

While I'm of the opinion that the 49ers are perfectly inclined to move on from the Kap era -- and many fans feel the same way -- this topic is still too difficult to put to bed entirely. I'm sure I'll get plenty of comments saying I'm feeding the narrative, or whatever, but moving on and ignoring what's happening are two different issues. I'm choosing the latter in this case.

According to Freeman, the NFL is shunning Kaepernick solely because of his stance -- or kneeling -- on the national anthem last year. It's not hard to polarize the conclusions here. Patriot versus traitor, progressive versus racist or liberal versus conservative. Yes, even politics have worked their way into this sport, even though many fans feel they shouldn't.

And for those who feel Kaepernick simply isn't good enough to be on an NFL team anymore, chew on this:


That was on a bad, bad 49ers team last year, too.

I don't get too political in my sports writing. I have my own opinions, and rarely do I share them. But this goes beyond sports. It's about us as a society, a nation.

But let's conduct a small social experiment here. Ask yourself if you were OK with former NFL quarterback Michael Vick returning to the league after serving time for his dog-fighting business and associated animal abuse. If you weren't, keep reading. But if you didn't have much of an issue with Vick -- he did his time, after all -- returning, stop and ask yourself if Kap's stance was a problem, even though he's continued to donate time and money and be socially involved with charitable causes throughout the nation and world.

If you were OK with Vick's return but don't want to see Kaepernick play again, that's a double standard. But you're not alone. GMs and NFL executives were willing to give Vick another chance. The same isn't the case with Kaepernick. At least not now.

Some of you won't like this article or the stance I've taken on the former 49ers quarterback. That's fine. I don't ask for you to agree or disagree. It's probably going to be the last piece on him I write for some time, if ever again, anyway.

But stop for a second and ask yourself if the reasons Kaepernick is unemployed are truly justifiable and make sense. Then think about why the quarterback has emerged as such a polarizing figure, not just among 49ers fans but across the NFL and nation.

Maybe you'll realize where we are as a society.

Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise and 49ers Webzone and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to @PeterPanacy on Twitter.