There seems to be some debate over Colin Kaepernick’s desire to be an NFL quarterback. Kaepernick has never suggested that he wants to change careers and he played in the San Francisco 49ers final game on Jan. 1 before opting out of his contract.
The idea that Kaepernick does not want to play football has not come from his camp. It has gained steam over the offseason. And it’s not surprising. No matter what you think of his stance, Kaepernick opened himself up to a circus by kneeling for the national anthem and jumping into activism with two feet.
But he should still be afforded to conduct his business in the same manner as any other unsigned quarterback looking for a club.
Peter King’s MMQB piece exploring Kaepernick’s training regiment quotes the quarterback’s trainer, who makes it quite clear that football is part of the plan moving forward. It also contains King’s belief that Kaepernick should make his intentions crystal clear.
I’ll get to my concern about Kaepernick—he needs to break his silence about football and his preparedness and his desire and what a team would get by signing him—in a few moments. But the man training Kaepernick is strident about the fact that he wouldn’t be training for this length of time and as intensely as he is if he wasn’t serious about playing football.
Later in the column, King recommends the Seattle Seahawks, a potential suitor, should ask him if he wants to play football.
Seattle needs to speak with Kaepernick, to steer through the muck and find out the answers to the questions he hasn’t answered.
Do you still want to play?
Will you be overly focused on off-field stuff during the season?
In short: Will you be a distraction?
I’m not saying those questions are right, or justifiable. But they are real. And that’s why Kaepernick needs to be heard from.
These are fair points, but what is not fair is the idea that Kaepernick should be required to go above and beyond the norm. There is no reason he should feel forced to publicly “debunking” the claim he isn’t interested in football. He doesn’t owe anything to the public.
If teams want to know his intentions, they can ask — just as they would any other quarterback. He is not beholden to address a rumor. He is not required to hold a press conference.
If he says he wants to play, teams should believe him. The doubt is being planted from the outside. This is not to say signing Kaepernick doesn’t require a higher degree of due diligence than normal.
If Kaepernick’s people are reaching out to gauge interest, that’s a good sign he wants to play. If they’re not, that question gains more steam. All teams could simply pick up the phone and ask, right now. There’s nothing stopping them.
They can get the answer the usual way: by reaching out outside of the public eye. Crazy, but true.