Over at the far left Slate, they're still trying to make quarterback Colin Kaepernick's unemployment about race. "Anonymous NFL execs say they’re not blackballing Colin Kaepernick," claims the article's tagline. "They’re just racist."
This is not only misleading; it's an absolute falsehood. The article reports on a Sports Illustrated interview with four anonymous sources -- three NFL executives and one coach. None of the four said that Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the national anthem in protest of America's supposed white supremacy played a role in their decision not to sign the over-rated athlete. All four said that Kaepernick simply isn’t a good on-field fit.
The Slate writer claims that "you don’t have to be a scholar of critical race theory to understand what’s going on here." Actually, you do, because only a critical race theorist or a Slate writer would find anything racist in the sources' explanations.
One source said:
Physically, Kaepernick’s more talented, but familiarity with a backup at that position, knowing exactly what you’re going to get, is more important than the “wow” factor. … It’s like with RG3 [black quarterback Robert Griffin III]; you had him playing a certain way, and he was a hell of a player. But as soon as defenses figured out what they were, and a specific way to play them, that’s where they had to be able to start to win from the pocket. If you can’t do that in this league, it’s tough.
A second source echoed that concern:
For us, it was a system thing. What he does well is totally outside what most teams do. And so here’s my question: I understand the Kaepernick deal, why it’s news, but nobody’s talking about RG3? I know since it’s Kaepernick, it’s what sells, but the problem that RG3 has getting a job is the same as Kaepernick for a lot of teams.
Source number three said of Kaepernick:
I don’t like the guy as a player. I don’t think he can play. … He’s inaccurate, inconsistent reading defenses. … And you consider that, why isn’t there a debate about RG3?
Here is what the anonymous coach had to say:
[Kaepernick is] not a pocket passer. So if you bring him in as a backup, and you’re not Seattle or Carolina, and you don’t have those things built in, it’s like you’re running a different offense with your 1s and your 2s. Mike Shanahan had a great theory on this—he wanted to draft Russell Wilson (in 2012), because if something happened to Robert (Griffin), the transition would be clean and easy. So Kaepernick almost has to be in a place where they’ll build a system for him, and teams don’t do that for backups.
"In three separate conversations," Slate persists, "three different executives made the same comparison between Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III. On one level, it’s strange that they all said the exact same thing. On another level, it’s not strange at all." Hint, hint. In Slate's worldview, these anonymous sources -- and remember, we don't even know what color these sources are -- are colluding with each other to keep Kaepernick out because they're racist.
Slate goes on to try to make the case that there is no logic behind Kaepernick's "blackballing," and thus racism is the only conclusion.
Sports Illustrated also quotes an unnamed AFC executive who says that “at the end of the day, we’re part of the ultimate meritocracy. So if someone feels like this guy can help win games, he’ll be in the league.”
"Ah, yes, the ultimate meritocracy," sneers Slate, "a league in which 70 percent of the players are black and the overwhelming majority of quarterbacks are white." So even though 70% of the players are black, Slate still considers the NFL racist because the majority of QBs are white. How many black quarterbacks would be enough for the league not to be racist, then? Seventy percent? One hundred and ten percent?
It's irrelevant because Colin Kaepernick is not unemployed because he is black. He is unemployed because he isn't a spectacular enough player for NFL teams to be willing to deal with the baggage of ongoing controversy he carries.