Sometimes you just have to put the request in despite already knowing the outcome. That was the case when Colin Kaepernick’s agent reached out to the New York Jets after Aaron Rodgers went down with a torn Achilles on Monday Night Football against the Buffalo Bills.
Even when you know the answer will be “no,” at least they can’t say you didn’t try.
Kaepernick hasn’t played a down in the NFL since Jan. 1, 2017, and it isn’t due to his “lack of talent” or his “interests outside of football.” We know what he did, and why he did it. We also know what’s still happening to him because of it. And no, I’m not talking about the settlement that the NFL reached with him and Eric Reid.
I’m pointing to the apology — the thing you give after you’ve wronged someone.
“I wish we had listened earlier, Kaep, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in 2020. “We had invited him in several times to have the conversation, to have the dialogue. I wish we had the benefit of that, we never did. We would have benefited from that, absolutely.”
But no matter how you feel or have always felt, about Kaepernick’s chances of returning to the field, it was never going to happen with a team owned by Woody Johnson.
“The #Jets are not pursuing Colin Kaepernick to address their immediate need for QB depth,” tweeted NFL Insider Josina Anderson on Wednesday. “I’m told they’ll look to at least narrow down their options today. The current mindset is to bring a QB in who fits the chemistry of Zach Wilson being the guy, & knows system &/or staff.”
Outside of the caricature that the Jets owner has become lately, like trying to “connect with the urban audience” by taking pictures on the sidelines with rapper Sexxy Red, or getting a diamond chain that spells out his name similar to the one that Jets star cornerback Sauce Gardner has — which is nothing but a desperate attempt at trying to be a “a cool owner.” It’s all a diversion to get people to forget his past.
Back in 2020 when Johnson was moonlighting as Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Kingdom — bet you forgot about that, huh? — he was investigated by the State Department due to allegations that he made racist and sexist comments to his staff and sought to use his position to benefit Trump’s personal business in the UK.
“He’s said some pretty sexist, racist,” things, a diplomat with knowledge of the complaints made, said of Johnson in a report from CNN. It goes on to say that the man who owns a team full of Black players and assistant coaches “made racist generalizations about Black men and questioned why the Black community celebrates Black History Month.” It was also reported that his comments about women’s looks were “cringeworthy.”
“I have followed the ethical rules and requirements of my office at all times,” he tweeted at the time, refuting the allegations. “These false claims of insensitive remarks about race and gender are totally inconsistent with my longstanding record and values.”
However, thanks to Jim Trotter filing his racial discrimination/retaliation lawsuit against the NFL earlier this week, the allegations against Johnson became a little more clearer, if you choose to believe them — which you should.
The lawsuit reads:
“A Black female diplomat told colleagues that in response to scheduling events during Black History Month, Mr. Johnson asked if he was going to speak to an audience that was, “just a bunch of Black people” and told her that she was “marginalizing herself.” Mr. Johnson also “questioned why the Black community celebrates Black History Month,” and argued that the “real challenge” was that Black fathers did not remain with their families.”
It’s been seven seasons since Colin Kaepernick has been an NFL quarterback. Many think his chances of returning to the league are over. Some are still holding out some hope. And while we’ve seen stranger things happen in this league — like the Indianapolis Colts hiring Jeff Saturday from ESPN to be their interim head coach — I think we can all agree that it would be a pipedream if someone like Woody Johnson signed a Black man like Kaepernick to be his quarterback.