Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Apparent Smear Campaign against Kaepernick Embarrassing and Disheartening

Anwar Jamison
Feb 23, 2017 at 4:37 PM

There are a lot of people with significant public platforms trying to convince anyone who'll listen that regarding Colin Kaepernick, don't believe your own eyes and don't believe your own ears. Michael Lombardi of The Ringer is the latest to join the circus.

On the latest episode of "The NFL Show" on The Ringer, Lombardi said, "This is the biggest joke to me in the league right now – is Kaepernick wants a meeting with the 49ers." That meeting between Kaepernick and the 49ers took place on Wednesday, so obviously General Manager John Lynch and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan didn't think it was such a joke. As a matter of fact, they've both had several positive things to say about Kaepernick since taking over their respective positions, and again after the meeting in the case of Lynch.

Lombardi also offered, "He's going to be begging for a job in another couple of weeks, who's going to sign Kaepernick?" along with other baseless, emotionally-charged assertions that reveal his obvious personal dislike of Kaepernick. At least he can say he's not alone. It is mind boggling that industry professionals can pass off such ill-informed opinions as fact with blatant disregard for their own journalistic integrity. There's no inside source greater than common sense.

Consider this, there are three men who have a say in whether or not Colin Kaepernick will play football for the 49ers in 2017: Lynch, Shanahan and Kaepernick. Neither of these three men have suggested that he won't be on the team, and in fact, every public statement from all three indicate that at the least they are open to it, and in some cases, seem to be looking forward to it. Strangely, the overwhelming majority of statements coming from every source other than these three men, suggest that Kaepernick will not and should not be on the team. The accepted narrative can generally be summed up as follows: Kaepernick is expected to opt out, and if he doesn't opt out, the 49ers will certainly cut him, because everyone can clearly see that it is best for everyone involved if he just moves on and gets a fresh start somewhere else. How many times have you heard that one in the past couple of months?

That accepted narrative has been stated over and over since the season ended. This is where common sense comes is: How could the organization have its mind made up that it doesn't want Kaepernick before the people who have been entrusted to make that decision were even hired? Also, if Kaepernick had made up his mind to opt out and test free agency at the end of the season when Trent Baalke was the general manager, why should anyone assume that he still feels the same way after the hires of Lynch and Shanahan?

For clarity, let's examine some of the significant quotes regarding the quarterback position in general, and Kaepernick specifically, from both Shanahan and Lynch since they were hired by the 49ers.

Kyle Shanahan
"People have won in this league being pure throwers and can make every throw in the pocket. People have won in this league making plays with their legs. There's lots of ways to do it. When you do feel that they have certain characteristics, whether it's their intelligence, their mobility, or their throwing ability, you've got to think of how can I put a scheme together that allows them to use those traits and does he have the players around him to allow him to use those traits."

"Colin's had success in this league. He took a team to the Super Bowl so obviously Colin has a lot of ability. He's not a guy I've studied since he was at Nevada, I liked him coming out of college and I'm looking forward to studying him now."

John Lynch
"I'm looking forward to sitting down with him. I really am. Colin and I, when I did some 49ers games, I'd say we hit it off. I'd say there was a trust there. I think that trust extends, and I was thrilled when he reached out. I'm looking forward to talking with him."

"Every time we talk about Kap, I think of the guy that was in the Super Bowl. That wasn't that far away. I remember broadcasting and coming in here, sitting down and being very impressed with the young man."

"We had a great discussion. Colin left excited, we left excited. We've only been on the job a couple weeks. I can tell you, we both very much enjoyed being around Colin, and he seems like he's in a real good place."

All public comments by Lynch and Shanahan regarding Kaepernick indicate that they are evaluating him as a viable option to play quarterback for the 49ers in 2017. What motivation could Lynch and Shanahan have to lead Kaepernick and the public on if they were not actually considering him? If Shanahan liked Kaepernick coming out of college, what could he possibly see on film to make him feel otherwise now? Are we to believe he's regressed into a worse quarterback than he was coming out of college? Despite what many pundits would have you believe, Kaepernick did not play poorly in 2016. On the contrary, he played really well, especially considering the circumstances around him. Anyone who watches every snap Kaepernick played with an objective eye will conclude that he made sizable strides as a passer and showed a much greater awareness, pocket presence and accuracy than he had previously as the season went on (yes, the Chicago snow game was an aberration).

The constant suggestions (or maybe prayers is more accurate) that Kaepernick should not and will not be with the 49ers, despite no indications to support those claims from the only two men who can make that call, reek of a desperate smear campaign by a group of individuals who are terrified at the prospect of seeing Kaepernick emerge unscathed from his national anthem protest and still employed by an NFL franchise. I think that is pretty pathetic.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • Tim
    A "deplorable" below thinks smear campaigns are warranted.... Why is this no surprise? Poor babies, need to show us on the doll where colin kaepernick hurt them. Sounds like child abuse to me.
    Mar 8, 2017 at 11:14 AM
  • Deplorable
    How is this article still featured on the front page? This tool (Kaepernick) completely discredited himself by opting out and then announcing he will stand when he needs a job. A smear campaign is warranted at this point.
    Mar 7, 2017 at 6:43 PM
  • 50yearformerfaithful
    Krap is a bad QB. Can't throw well, cannot read defenses, panicked in the pocket and never kept his eyes downfield. He is a below average QB at best that is fast. No real talent and a mental disaster. He's not smart enough to play the position well. Coupled with his being a racist anti American coward and ignorant fraud he deserves to be flushed right out of the NFL but the NFL cares more about politics than football. Colin says he'll be standing for the anthem, from the seats most likely. Any team that signs that traitor moron not only is saying FU to the country but is looking for draft picks over playoffs. Rot in hell Krap you douchebag coward. Remember you'd be digging ditches in any other country given your intellect.
    Mar 6, 2017 at 9:10 AM
  • Tony Alvarez
    Unlike some critics, I won't use Kap's ill-advised "protest", as a basis, even though it was more divisive than constructive. If one just uses his skill set, plusses and minuses, and his regression from the wunderkind of his first couple of years, it becomes obvious he's not the "Franchise" QB we really need. Every time it looks as if he's overcome a hurdle, he takes two steps back. Reminds me of Steve DeBerg who, at times, tantalized with his potential, only to disappoint, again and again. Kap is not the answer, and certainly not at the price point he would expect and demand. Time to move on.
    Feb 27, 2017 at 1:29 PM
  • Oliver M. Stanley
    Official - yes of course, implicit bias exists. These are judgements we ALL make about blacks and whites. We are not fully in control of them, because these biases occur at a subconscious level. But since this is a football site, I can tell you my own belief is that even IF Kap were playing well, I would not support his role with the team. But he has NOT. And I do not have a reasonable expectation that he can improve. Let me also share, if I were a Tom Brady fan and HE kneeled during our national anthem, I would trash him for - in my opinion - would be a misguided attempt at "Social Justice". I am not disputing Kaps LEGAL right to protest, but doing it while on the company payroll. Yes, I am an old, white veteran, but many football fans are like me. Maybe the real divide is between those of us who served in the military, raised a family, etc., and those who have not. While I recognize that many may feel differently about Kap, I also believe that many also look for evidence in every situation they encounter to support the implicit and explicit bias they themselves have within them. I have a son about Kap's and so I wish him well, but do not consider his protest courageous.
    Feb 26, 2017 at 7:59 AM
  • The Official
    AZ 49er Fan - so using language like "AfroKaep" and "Afro glasses" is not racist? Some people are butt hurt because of Kaep's social stance. They try to say he's disrespecting the flag - when the opposite is true. They're simply blinded by hatred and can't separate emotion from logic. Even your analysis is not objective. Kaep played well last year. The year before, the entire team sucked, coaching was terrible, and front office was sabotaging him.
    Feb 25, 2017 at 7:54 AM
  • AZ 49er Fan
    IF Kap was actually any good, and people were calling for his head due to his 70's fro, and his Black Power act, I would consider this article spot on about racism. Given his recent inability to perform as a top qb in the NFL (the Harbaugh years are ancient history), a large majority of fans would like the 49ers to move on, rid themselves of his salary hit on their cap, and use that $ to find better talent at lots of other areas of need. It's pretty racist for some to label others racist just because they don't agree with your opinion on this man's worth as a big $ starting NFL QB. I would think Shanahan and Lynch are doing Kap a favor talking him up in the media to help him land a job elsewhere, post 49ers.
    Feb 25, 2017 at 6:12 AM
  • don
    Here are the facts. When given the opportunity to seek a trade he found one suitor who were unwilling to sign him unless he took a $7.5 million dollar pay cut. He won one game last year. He threw for 4 net yards total vs Chicago. I don't see a whole lot of upside. But in all fairness I defer to Kyle and John on this one.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 6:49 PM
  • Deplorable
    This article is embarrassing and disheartening.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 6:35 PM
  • The Official
    Some people are too stupid to differential between emotion and logic. That explains why they would vote for R U M P. That's right, it stands for ass.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 3:10 PM
  • The Official
    Nice article Anwar. I can't believe the racism and bigotry of some of the posters. They can't take the truth.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 3:02 PM
  • robert ethan
    Pretty hilarious that you would complain about "people with public platforms" twisting the truth about Kaepernick when that has been your whole shtick as a writer on this site. Or slagging Gabbert to make Kap look better when Blaine was the starter.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 1:09 PM
  • Old dirty
    Hey hood professor. Too bad we can't waive you too. Jesus man, take off the Afro glasses. Have some damn dignity.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 12:36 PM
  • Laoch
    By the way, Anwar Jamison, when your Twitter handle is @thhoodprofessor, we all can guess why you are supporting AfroKaep and it's not because you can articulate synthesised ideological, economic, or commercial debates...
    Feb 24, 2017 at 12:12 PM
  • Laoch
    You know you're about to hear something ignorant and/or racist when you hear the phrase "as an African-American"...if you are not an apologist then you are branded the racist because any semblance of common sense or common ground is void in this, AfroKaep's shortcomings were readily apparent even when we were winning with Harbaugh but the team system minimized his flaws (except when we played Seattle)...his lack of character, unchecked hubris, unwillingness to study and improve in his chosen profession, inability to articulate even a simple sentence, and all the other idiocies he created falls on him and him alone...he made his choices and now he has to live with the consequences...
    Feb 24, 2017 at 11:29 AM
  • Nick
    Wow why do people and the local media feel that Kap is a good QB and will lead the niners to the promised land again?! Lets remember when we last made it to the Super Bowl, Harbaugh was coaching we had talent surrounding our running back QB and because he cant read a Defence we lost the SB yes if we had a QB they could throw and read a D we would have won. And still some people feel that he is the saviour to this team. We are drafting 2nd overall its time to draft a potential franchise QB then a WR then a RB. Look at the successful teams in the NFL they all have good QBs ... Kap is a sideshow and I for one am sick and tired of hearing how great he can be. even Montana and Young would not be given these many chances to succeed !
    Feb 24, 2017 at 11:27 AM
  • Ninersush
    Who even cares about kap. He's not the future. He never really became a fan favorite. He's gone this year or next. We don't need continued focus on kap. He's a place holder at best. He's not even a good qb. Never was. I'm glad he stood up for his beliefs. But he's a fucking idiot for not voting. So I'll be very glad when we are done with him. There just isn't any love or loyalty needed for him. You're a kap lover so I get your defending him.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 11:15 AM
  • RonMexico
    wtf is this
    Feb 24, 2017 at 10:00 AM
  • Jesse
    Can't say I agree with everything here. There's legitimate merit to those who have written Kaepernick off, but there's always the potential for a rejuvenation if he wants it bad enough. What pisses me off though is how people lump him in as being "against vets" and anti-American. Wake the f*ck up, honestly and pull your head out of the GOP's a**. He's an American citizen, exercising his American rights, in defense of other American citizens. In his eyes YOUR un-American for denying his legitimate freedom to do as he wishes. If you fought for that freedom and then turnaround and say that nobody should ever use it, you're not only a hypocrite, but a dim-witted follower that will probably have babies with soft-heads and inhibited learning capabilities. Oh well, I'm sure back in colonial days there were people saying you shouldn't disrespect the Queen too. History shows however, that conservatism is overcome 100% of the time, it just takes longer sometimes.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 8:35 AM
  • Braktastic
    Whatever it takes to get Kaep off this team, I say. The ends would justify the means.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 8:34 AM
  • NinerSteve
    Kaepernick is a disgrace to the 49ers and the country. Just another example of the ignorance of today's youth and them not knowing all the facts or the effects of their actions.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 8:18 AM
  • AJ
    Good lord. It's almost like Kaepernick's Mom wrote this article. He's a terrible QB and the toxic vibe he brings the organization isn't worth keeping around.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 7:45 AM
  • Wesley Brooks
    Thank you so much for writing this article and telling truth finally, someone see's what I see.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 7:44 AM
  • Rob
    Bravo! I have been thinking this for the past few months! It's about time someone had the guts to put it in print. Just because the guy picked a strange way to support the black lives matter thing, now everyone hates him. The guy may not be an exceptional quarterback but he is NOT terrible either. In the right system, with the right coach kap could thrive. Who is to say shannahan isn't that coach? I sincerely hope lynch & shannahan give him a fair shot instead of caving to public opinion.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 7:32 AM
  • almost_X_9er_fan
    At best Kap is an average NFL QB, then you add in his divisive actions and all you end up with is an alienated/divided fan base. As long as Kap is the 9ers QB I’m not watching.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 5:46 AM
  • TX 9er
    Pointless article anwar. Kap can't play, is a distraction, anti vets, anti cops... He will be begging for a job says a ton of experts not just Lombardi. You will have to follow your little buddy Kap out the door with him!
    Feb 24, 2017 at 5:19 AM
  • Shemp
    What smear campaign? Let's see: * Kap cannot throw a simple 5 yard out, it will bounce off the dirt half the time. * He was 2-11 last year I believe * He has awful pocket presence and mobility * he has gotten progressively worse every year since the superbowl * He wears "police are pigs" socks in practice and doesn't stand for the national anthem, complains of oppression while being complimentary of Fidel Castro, thinks he is the next Muhammad Ali, and is a distraction and humiliation to the team because he is doing all of this while he is ON THE JOB AND ON PAYROLL FOR HIS EMPLOYER AND SUPPOSED TO BE FOCUSED ON FOOTBALL. Can't wait until he is off this team.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 4:42 AM
  • limo
    My 2 cents? Let's let the real experts, Lynch and Shanahan do their jobs, live with whatever they decide. Let's quit speculating, getting emotional worrying about who they choose to place their careers around. They have proven they know what the game is about. I doubt none of the commentors (or writer) has the equivalent knowledge of these 2 guys.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 3:52 AM
    Feb 24, 2017 at 3:34 AM
  • Bob
    Good read. Other than the reference to Lombardi and journalistic integrity in the same paragraph.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 3:08 AM
  • T
    Excellent article, way to have the courage to stand for true conviction. The sad part is, a lot of people don't realize when/why they're being programmed.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 1:14 AM
  • Phil
    Are you the resident Kaepernick apologist? Your last 10 articles were all about him, mostly in his defense.
    Feb 24, 2017 at 12:34 AM
  • Carl
    I agree with sdaddy.these are same people who say trump is great est prez ever no matter how much of an ass he makes of himself. Kap hasnt lied and iff u dont get why is kneel id have to assume ur mentally challenged
    Feb 23, 2017 at 11:21 PM
  • beldar
    I agree there are clearly people who are holding his protest against him. I agree he played pretty well this season, or at least the stats say so, (really hard for me to say anything our team did should be described positively) Biggest problem I have with kaep is the perceived lack of leadership that was reported over the years. And not reading downfield, you can say improved, but I'll still say i saw Steve young play, sooo....But if the locker room is behind him, and his personality is adding to the team. By all means let's keep him. If he is a sullen jerk, let's say goodbye. Either way I want somebody who is, or will be better than kaep on the team this season
    Feb 23, 2017 at 11:10 PM
  • Bakefootball
    Kaep may be on the team but he won't be the starter. Book it!
    Feb 23, 2017 at 10:10 PM
  • Dustin
    He's got all of the physical talent in the world. He clearly just too dumb to be an NFL QB.
    Feb 23, 2017 at 9:26 PM
  • Craig
    The truth is not a smear campaign. Kapernick's inacurracy and inability to read defenses is now well documented. And regardless of your political views, Kap's protests were a huge distraction to the team last year. I say good riddance! Hope he's gone sooner than later ...
    Feb 23, 2017 at 8:50 PM
  • Sdaddy101269
    Some of These comments are a clear reflection of the distance between and problems with race relations in this country. The fact that most of them are people who don't know ANYTHING about the people that play the game they clearly love all the while having a problem with a peaceful protest that brings light to VERY real issues for the players they SEEM to adore. Never mind not being able to clearly refute what the writer of the article is saying, instead choosing to deflect. You detractors may be surprised to know that those PLAYERS who you love most likely hate your guts.
    Feb 23, 2017 at 8:26 PM
  • robert ethan
    Awwww... poo widdle Colly Kapewnick... the big meanies picking on him again. On #PinkShirtDay no less. Come heah, Colly, momma fix you a nice sandwich and some hot chocolate.
    Feb 23, 2017 at 8:17 PM
  • Clyde
    Does Nessa know how much you suck Kap's D?
    Feb 23, 2017 at 8:15 PM
  • Paul
    Sorry for grammar errors. Typing in my room which is freezing cold. Let me try again. Kapernick is not a good QB. The dude can't read a defense to save his live. Under his leadership the last couple years were not close to 500. Not only that has had a me first personality that runs people around him the wrong way. Let not forget instead of learning a playbook or working on his mecanics. He decided he rather pose nude in magizines,go party with friends,build up his muscles,and yes now let his lady talk him into being a social justice warrior like her. Yes,it's harsh. But NFL Business is. You aren't promised a starting QB job in this league. When your not peformering. You get let go. Kap just not performing.
    Feb 23, 2017 at 7:35 PM
  • Paul
    Kaepernick can't ead defenses. It has nothing do with him being a liberal activist. Sorry your feeling are hurt people want a real QB. But fact are facts. Under Kaepernick last few years the team has blown. He throw horrible passes at the feet of recvers. He misses the target selveral times and instead of staying in the pocket when their protection. He decided to run.
    Feb 23, 2017 at 7:22 PM
  • Squirrel
    What the hell is a "spear campaign "?
    Feb 23, 2017 at 7:22 PM
  • Sdaddy101269
    What's interesting is the SAME people that are bitching about Kaeps protest are the same people that are Ok with Mike Flynn and his ties to Russia.
    Feb 23, 2017 at 7:17 PM
  • Casey
    One comment by one commentator does not a smear campaign make.
    Feb 23, 2017 at 7:17 PM
  • Raul
    Kap is better at his job than Mike Lombardi is at his current and past jobs.
    Feb 23, 2017 at 7:12 PM
  • Scott
    If his protest bother you people as much as you say, then counter protest or deal with it as you don't have enough emotional fortitude to do something about how and what you believe. He does and I for one am glad to see him going into these communities and helping both citizens and police. He has given more money to this cause then any of you will make in a lifetime. JMO !
    Feb 23, 2017 at 6:36 PM
  • Bodhi
    Kaepernick brought this all on himself by dishonoring our national anthem. Bye felicia!!
    Feb 23, 2017 at 6:17 PM
  • Harvey
    Kaep should leave. Sorry your feelings are hurt but he just doesn't fit here any more. nothing to do with your left wing anthem protest! he is just not an NFL caliber QB. Get a life and be an American!
    Feb 23, 2017 at 6:16 PM
  • paul
    Yea kaep won't have a job, because he is no longer starting quality. Sorry your feelings are hurt
    Feb 23, 2017 at 6:05 PM

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