Amid renewed speculation that he might make a comeback in the league that banished him, Colin Kaepernick’s fans best kept their breath away that they’ll see the social justice activist back on the grate soon.

Once Joe Burrow, the Cincinnati star who was unanimously recognized as the top quarterback prospect in several years, went down with the Washington Football team during Sunday’s game, the ACL’s torn attention quickly turned to the identity of the man who should replace him.

News editors, as they have done every time a known quarterback was sent to the sidelines due to injury, rushed to wipe previously written copies of a former 49er whose talent deserves a roster spot in the NFL but whose profile rules it out.

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And now that the inches of the column are getting faster and faster and his name is trending on Twitter, Colin Kaepernick is no closer to returning to a sports league that has made it clear he doesn’t want him, no matter how high-pitched the screams of his followers looking for a redeeming third act in Kaepernick’s career.

Its story has been told extensively over the past three years and hardly needs to be repeated here. Suffice it to say that a protest that began on the sidelines of an NFL game quickly spread to larger United States society. It made endless noise in the Oval Office and prompted incumbent Vice President Mike Pence to get out of a game with his native Indianapolis Colts in a carefully manicured PR stunt.

In May, Kaepernick’s “Take a Knie” protest became a near global phenomenon after the death of African American George Floyd in police custody in Minnesota. Shaky cell phone footage from Floyd’s prolonged police punishment threw Kaepernick in a new light – leading to shakier cell phone footage, this time from (sometimes violent) protests on behalf of Floyd.

Soon the same league that originally distanced itself from Kaepernick’s kneeling protest began to encourage them. Some players kneel before the games in the NFL, and the same thing happens in most of the major European football leagues – and in various other sports as well.

So-called patriots went wild when Colin Kaepernick knelt in protest during the national anthem. Trump has repeatedly shit on the flag in the name of selfishness, greed and racism, tearing it up and setting it on fire, and the same people sit quietly letting democracy die.

– (masked) Lisa Harris (@ lisakay1215) November 23, 2020

I appreciate Colin Kaepernick’s efforts to shed light on the police killing of unarmed blacks. He’s a legend for that alone. But I would LOVE it if my Cincinnati Bengals buck the system and take him to QB to end the season for an injured Joe Burrow.

– B-Ball Guru (@northcyde) November 23, 2020

And so many in the soon-to-be-trumpless United States, and after his profile received a veil of prestige, have asked whether the time is right for Kaepernick’s cathartic return. The answer is no now and forever.

It would have happened if it had been. In the past year, Kaepernick was assessed by several teams before he could sign a contract. There were no offers. Just before the late 2020 season reports, it was found again that Kaepernick’s agent had made preliminary inquiries with a number of teams. There were no offers here either.

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Half of that can certainly be explained by the fact that the teams are unwilling to take a risk on a 33-year-old quarterback who hasn’t played in the league in three years. The other half is likely due to the scrutiny the teams would face once a deal is struck. Also, the teams (correctly) realized that Kaepernick is now more famous (notorious?) For things he’s done off the field than on the field.

Despite Kaepernick’s potential reinstatement, which fitted a bit into a socially fair worldview after Donald Trump was ousted from the Oval Office in this month’s presidential election and the style of protest he popularized for globalization, Colin Kaepernick’s fans had it on best didn’t manage to speculate on his possible return to action – now or in the future.


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