The NFL is back this weekend, bringing with it the highest concentration of takes from media members and star players since February. Inevitably, a bunch of them are about whether or not Colin Kaepernick deserves to be on an NFL roster.
Michael Bennett and Richard Sherman have been outspoken about Kaepernick’s absence this offseason; his former teammate Eric Reid began kneeling again in support of his friend. But at this point, it is all but certain Kap won’t take the field this season unless every other person to ever look at a football dies first.
Last week, Aaron Rodgers became the most prominent white player to address the issue in an interview with ESPN the Magazine. Today, Von Miller and Cam Newton are saying plainly that Kaepernick should be on a roster.
Miller spoke to Sports Illustrated about the issue, while Newton was asked at a press conference.
Miller and Newton are notably unequivocal in their beliefs that Kaepernick belongs on a team.
Newton said he “absolutely” believes Kaepernick should be on a roster, and even starting, this season. When he was asked if he believes Kaepernick’s unemployment is tied to his kicking off of the national anthem protests, he gave a pretty interesting response: “That’s a question that all the players in the National Football League are trying to answer.”
These things tend to have a snowball effect: High-profile players speaking out serves to embolden those without Super Bowl experience. Additionally, it’s going to be difficult for this debate to fizzle out when a bunch of shitty no-name guys start under center in Week 1.
Meanwhile, anonymous executives are busy selling the lie that Kaepernick is as undeserving of a roster spot as RGIII. (Who cares what the actual players think?)
I’m interested to see if our colleagues in the media present the Kaepernick question to as many white players as they do black, and how, if they do, their answers are received and contextualized.