Some have wondered what signing Colin Kaepernick would do to a team’s locker room. Meanwhile, not signing Kaepernick might make some issues inside the Seattle Seahawks’.
At least one prominent player was surprised when the Seahawks brought Kaepernick in for a visit and passed, just to sign an inferior quarterback in Austin Davis. Bennett, one of the league’s best defensive linemen and one of the NFL’s most outspoken players, says he wished Kaepernick “would have signed with us because we would have had a good backup quarterback after Russell Wilson” in an interview with The Breakfast Club on Power 105.1 (via the Seattle Times). He was surprised when it didn’t happen.
“I think it was real. I talked to him. He thought it was going to happen,” Bennett said.
Kaepernick’s free agency has been one of the most controversial stories of the NFL offseason. Many have speculated that Kaepernick’s national-anthem protest last season is the reason he isn’t signed, and Bennett got even more specific. In the Power 105.1 interview, Bennett said “the people who buy tickets to the game aren’t really African-American’’ and those who buy tickets “just want this issue’’ to go away.
Many have seen quarterbacks worse than Kaepernick get signed this offseason, and have speculated the NFL is blackballing him. Bennett left no doubt where he stood on that issue.
“Of course he’s being blackballed,’’ Bennett said. “Nobody likes race and politics in sports. That’s one of those things nobody wants to talk about and for him to bring race and politics in sports it struck a lot of people the wrong way.’’
It’s probably not accurate to say Kaepernick has been blackballed. It’s impossible to believe there is a coordinated effort by the NFL to keep Kaepernick, one of the most recognizable players in the NFL, out of the league. Imagine the scandal if it were discovered that NFL teams were explicitly colluding to keep him out of the league. So “blackballed” is not the correct term. But is Kaepernick’s protest playing a role his unemployment? It seems weird to deny that’s happening.
The Seahawks passing on Kaepernick was an unexpected turn in the story. It makes no sense to believe the Seahawks weren’t serious about signing him; they invited a ton of publicity on the issue the moment they brought Kaepernick in for a visit, his first and only free-agent visit this offseason. No team would voluntarily sign up to be in the eye of the storm if they had no interest in signing Kaepernick. The unanswered question is what happened between the Seahawks deciding to bring Kaepernick in for a visit, and their decision to pass? Bennett said the Seahawks not signing Kaepernick is “really one of those shocking things.’’
Bennett’s surprise over the Seahawks passing on Kaepernick is interesting. It’s worth wondering how many other players who support Kaepernick feel the same way.
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