No Huddle: 49ers-Cardinals Preview With Steph Sanchez →
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Divisiveness on Colin Kaepernick proves how polarizing a figure he is

May 12, 2017 at 3:22 PM

Videos are auto-populated by an affiliate. This site has no control over the videos that appear above.

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.

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.
  • Written by:
    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • Matt
    "But stop for a second and ask yourself if the reasons Kaepernick is unemployed are truly justifiable and make sense." So what are you arguing here? It sounds like you're saying that K kaep is entitled to his protest without any repercussions. Let's say, for the sake of arguing, that his protest was the sole cause of his unemployment. Are you saying that owners aren't entitled to express their disagreement with him by not signing him? Or, if it's not the owners, per se, but the owners fearing that their fans (customers) will punish them by not spending money, are the fans not entitled to express their disapproval? If it IS about that, then why have you concluded that kaep's free expression is sacrosanct and worthy of protection (and your condemnation of the other parties, and their expression rights)?
    May 15, 2017 at 12:38 PM
  • Greg
    Kap is not an accurate passer. For every throw that takes your breath away, there is one in the dirt or sails high. He spent an off season working with Kurt Warner and came out of that admitting he was not "a big fundamentals guy". No kidding as demonstrated by his lack of accuracy. I think every coordinator who once feared Kap feared his freakish athleticism, not his ability to beat you with his mind. If you force him to remain in the pocket and go through his progression he is at best average and that is probably being generous. I fear he is flaming out like other phenomenal athletes who never mastered the mental part of playing QB. If there are GMs or head coaches out there who are convinced that having Kap increases their chances of winning he will have or will find a job.
    May 14, 2017 at 9:47 AM
  • Bill
    Let's retitle this article as: "Beating a Dead Horse." Move on people. There is nothing remotely insightful about this article.
    May 13, 2017 at 9:19 PM
  • Charlie Sweet
    To Tim We'll never know will we?
    May 13, 2017 at 1:22 PM
  • Tim
    To charlie sweet: He opted out of the contract because he was told the 9ers had no intention of paying it. Do you honestly think the 9ers were not going to opt out of a contract when they had that right and not pay him 14 million?
    May 13, 2017 at 12:40 PM
  • Charlie Sweet
    People forget that Kap OPTED OUT of a contract that would pay him 14 million dollars. He wanted to test the waters. That's on him.
    May 13, 2017 at 9:57 AM
  • Super Dave
    Sorry Ricardo but Football being a business and losing money and games in the NFL is a nonstarter. Kap always choked when trying to make a comeback win even when his roster was stacked. Kap doesn't have it in him to be great. In addition police brutality statistically has diminished over the past 30 years. The numbers glean the truth of the matter showing police brutality numbers diminishing. Also it's a shame he fell victim to a false narrative used as a political football trying drum up extra votes for a political party to drum up more votes. The last 9 years have been very polarizing ratially for not even 1 10th of the racism and police caused violence. If you flesh out the numbers police brutality is close to even accross all races of human beings in America. Look at doj and fbi numbers.
    May 13, 2017 at 8:54 AM
  • Ricardo
    Really? It's a shame that many of you think that he is "paying the price" for his stance on police brutality in the urban environment. The caliber or his quality of play has absolutely nothing to do with the issue, but like the author said, "politics have found it's way into football". That man had a voice that was on a national stage and he chose to use it. His life isn't about football, but football was a part of his life. Why judge that man for taking advantage of a situation knowing the controversy it would cause to shed more light on an EPIDEMIC that has been going on the minority community?
    May 13, 2017 at 8:17 AM
  • Eddy
    If you are going to be controversial and polarizing, you had better be at the top of your game professionally. Kaep is nothing but a backup quality QB, so no one will truly take him seriously as a voice for change. Only exceptional athletes like Muhammed Ali can get away with such unpopular stances. Kaep, however, is entirely disposable and a liability for any team that takes him on.
    May 13, 2017 at 7:23 AM
  • Super Dave
    Kap made his bed and now has to lay in it. He cost the nfl and 9ers (I'm guessing) millions and probably 100s of millions. Everyone I knew were refusing to watch the 9ers and the nfl last year because of his actions. He tried to dress it up in the media as to his reasons but there is only so much lipstick you can put on a pig. He made a bad choice for a false narrative and now is paying the price.
    May 13, 2017 at 6:57 AM
  • Doc Sauer
    Sports writers always have something to say and I am sure this piece was easy to write just as the other articles published by your peers, after all there are editors who will pay to sell papers. I believe Kaepernick is asking for too much money in a Quarterback dominated league. Also I think there is some reprisal from owners reluctant to sign him as there were alternative ways of protesting honorably last year and know by recently saying "oh I will stand now", is just a a ploy for a new contract. I would look at the NFL as any business organization with a Human Resources department, if you have an employee who is a distraction or causes the business to loose revenue based on poor attitude disruption and leaves openly, often times there will be a no rehire note within the record. Also, it is my belief Michael Vick, a convicted felon, should have never been allowed to play again in the NFL. Finally, I am a US combat service member and my organization requires its people to stand for the great values of the country to honor those who ultimately sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Kaepernick has made his bed and now he needs to sleep in it.
    May 13, 2017 at 3:54 AM
  • NinerTy
    In this country you are supposed to have the right to stand kneel or sit for what you believe. This man felt the right to kneel for for the right to protest the unwarranted killings and shootings of unarmed Black Men. The first problem with that was White media saying he was protesting against the military? Why not talk to him first? Oh, I guess that's too much like right. Standard White media practice. Because once he was actually asked what he was protesting, people had to pull back and understand the truth about what was happening in America and with him. Now, if you are for the unmitigated killings of unarmed Black Men, then I understand your racist position. But, now I want you to tell me how Gabbert gets signed and he doesn't
    May 13, 2017 at 1:54 AM
  • JuNeDaWg
    Man F that fool. If he is getting black balled, you reap what you sow so man on up and lay in the bed you made. Man do I hate WHITE APOLOGIST cause to me they are traitor to their own kind. If they can turn on their own kind then I cant trust those fools to stand beside my kind.
    May 13, 2017 at 1:04 AM
  • Monroe alexander whitt
    Thank u for being real and neutral. The reason they black balling kap. Is bcause he spoke up for black people, particulary males and when your trying to exterminate a people particulary black cant in anyway huminize or speak up on wrong done to them. I mean us.
    May 12, 2017 at 11:41 PM
  • Ssj49
    Average QB that brings a lot of unwanted drama. No thanks.
    May 12, 2017 at 9:34 PM
  • Dave Buggs
    Much like Peter Panacy's articles, Kap sucks.
    May 12, 2017 at 8:35 PM
  • Charlie Bonoli
    If Kap was a better QB, he would be signed. The problem is Kap is a read-option quarterback in a league where the read-option doesn't work. He is not a classic under the center QB or a pocket passer. Guys coming out of the spread offenses in college will have much of the same problems.
    May 12, 2017 at 8:09 PM
  • Brian
    I have refused to watch every game Vick played in since his return. That said, I still was ready to part with kaep. Not because of the political stance of the protest (1 I think it's creepy that we are morally forced to stand or taught to pledge allegiance at an age before we know what allegiance is or what our country is. And 2, I've personally been beaten by cops, I'm white btw) or his play he was good but limited, but I hate that it distracted our team, and I know it had to split the locker room even if the split was silent(only 2 other guys joined him...). Also I question if he came up with the protest as an excuse after being caught being sullen and not standing when he didn't get to start that pre-season game in week 3. That said, he is a good qb, based on skill he deserves a shot somewhere. Based on the intangibles of locker room politics, uniting a fan base, ticket sales, TV ratings... I can't deny he has been poison in the past.
    May 12, 2017 at 7:57 PM
  • Clyde T
    The problem I have with with Kap's performance is that there were often periods of games where the score was still relatively close in the second and third quarters and he would go three and out. Thus leading to a bad defense being tired also and giving up more points. Once the game was out of reach, Kap often padded his stats with TD passes and completions that the defense gave him because it was taking time off the clock.
    May 12, 2017 at 7:54 PM
  • Jay R
    Peter pansy......enough!!! Seriously.... get over it. Go join black lives matter and get some pig cop socks if it makes you happy, and you too will find yourself out of work soon. I dare you to wear those socks visibly to work and expect millions of dollars in return.....dude exercised his free speech right.... bravo. In return we are exercising ours. Don't be mad because most of ours don't align with his.... it's our right just as much as his.... if you are truly liberal you should understand that. And don't be mad that the owners are exercising their rights to not want him on their team..... don't they have a right to employ whoever they want? Don't be hypocritical, it makes you seem small and disingenuous. Take a poll of people on this site who want to read or hear news involving "he who shall not be named", I mean Voldemort, I mean kaepernick, and you will see for yourself how out of touch you are. Let it go, Anna!!!!
    May 12, 2017 at 7:27 PM
  • Scott
    If writing Kap stories took years off your life, Florio would have been dead months ago. Also, did you actually watch him play last year? I watched every game. If you asked people, based purely on on-field play, who they would take between the 4 qbs listed on the Mike and Mike tweet you showed, I guarantee you 95% of them would take any of the 3 not named Kap. If you think he's in the same league as any of those guys, you're on drugs.
    May 12, 2017 at 5:54 PM
  • Blah
    Please please stop with the Kap stories. He isn't on the team or any team for that matter. Fans and the Niners org moved on. Reporters/blog writers please move on as well. Do film review of draft pics and UDFA. Go over Shannahan Offense or our new defense. Please no more Kap. Niner news only.
    May 12, 2017 at 5:24 PM
  • j boden
    Did you watch this clown play ? he`s a lousy quarterback get over it. Your man love for this clown is disgusting
    May 12, 2017 at 5:02 PM
  • mac
    I have watched and analyzed every NFL game Kap has played in and I don't care if people don't like my opinion. I am white and I appreciate what Kap did. I think he is one of the best qbs in the league. He may have some limitations, but give him some players and he will be explosive. As for his stance? I am proud of what he did. Kap stood "down" and was brave. I think the problem is that everyone took his kneel down as a insult to the military and the country. People were pissed. However, they couldn't be farther from than the truth. He Knelt down due to police brutality. Why would anyone disagree with this? Ignorance or stubbornness if you ask me. It happens in our society believe it or not. As for the Niners, he was one of the only bright spots on the team and arguably one of the best players on the team. You disagree? Watch the games. The Niners, as mentioned in this article. were horrible. The year prior he had no damn line. Yeah, blame the qb. It is easier that way.
    May 12, 2017 at 4:21 PM

Facebook Comments

More San Francisco 49ers News

49ers starting to figure out running back rotation behind Christian McCaffrey

By Rohan Chakravarthi
Sep 24

Through the first two games of the season, San Francisco 49ers star running back Christian McCaffrey dominated the team's touches, recording 27 in Week 1, when he rushed for 152 yards and a touchdown, and 23 in Week 2, when he gained 116 yards on the ground and another touchdown. When on the field, McCaffrey was dominant, but he was earning a lion's share of the reps at running back, including a 100% snap share in Week 2 during the 49ers' 30-23 win over the Los Angeles Rams. That led to head coach Kyle Shanahan taking some accountability after the Week 2 win, understanding the need to balance the running back rotation to preserve McCaffrey for the full season. "Yeah, we definitely got to get Elijah in there more and do better with our rotation than


More by Peter Panacy

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone