Black Quarterback: The Last Gasp Episode
By Brandon Simmons
Kaepernick vs. the NFL
Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has thrown another thorn in the NFL’s side; this time against the owners. Kaepernick has decided to file a grievance against the league for alleged collusion that has kept him out of a roster spot with a team this season. The complaint was filed under the definition set by the Collective Bargaining Agreement:
“The failure by a club or clubs to negotiate, to submit offer sheets, or to sign contracts with restricted free agents or transition players, or to negotiate, make offers, or sign contracts for the playing services of such players or unrestricted free agents, shall not, by itself or in combination only with evidence about the playing skills of the player(s) not receiving any such offer or contract, satisfy the burden of proof set forth …”
Since the beginning of the offseason, the biggest story has been Kaepernick not being signed by teams, in theory, because of his racial injustice protest that happened during the national anthem. It has brought much criticism to him and the league for kneeling during a sports ritual, but at the same time it has spread beyond the NFL and into sports leagues, both domestically and globally. However, the attention may have been a primary “excuse” for teams to back off a quarterback who once took his team to a Super bowl not that long ago.
It wasn’t like teams did not need a quarterback, whether a starter or a backup; there are some that still do. Teams such as the Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins all had questionable QB situations before the season started. The latter two saw injuries happen to their starting quarterbacks, but the Ravens were able to get Joe Flacco back. However, former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis clams the team was ready to sign him as a backup, until Kaep’s girlfreiend tweeted a meme depicting Lewis as Samuel L. Jackson’s slave mater loving character in 2012’s Django. The Dolphins were able to sign retired quarterback Jay Cutler from his analyst job, to reunite with his former coach, Adam Gase, who is now the Dolphins head coach; but things have gotten to a bumpy start so far offense-wise, despite Gase being credited with helping Cutler achieve his best season, statistically. The only team that has been on record to give Kaepernick a shot, is the Seattle Seahawks. Seahawk players such as defensive end Michael Bennett all have been publicly outspoken about signing Kaep. But after a workout an contract, negotiation, everything fell through mysteriously.
This case is both equally clear-as-day proof as well as conspiracy theory basis, but it will take a lot more to win it than Mike Glennon proving to be a failure. In all honesty, if this was a movie, this case would either be the turning point in the film or the end. Coilin Kaepernick’s story has put a light on the NFL that none of its fans really expected. There is anger and support flying in all directions, affecting the fan bases across the league; the owners are definitely taking notice of that. Still, Kaepe can’t help but notice that he is being held back from a job because of his beliefs.
Jets fumble: Will a rule change?
One of the biggest stories from this past weekend involved a weird call against the New York Jets in their game against the New England Patriots. Jets tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins caught a pass and was on his way to score a touchdown, until he was tackled by some Patriots players, juggled the ball and recovered on his way into the corner of the end zone. What was supposed to be a touchdown, was actually ruled a fumble into the end zone which calls for a touchback. So of course, everybody is thinking: What rules are they about to change now?
It happens all the time and very much s in the last few seasons: rule changes. Usually a call as controversial as this will prompt some altering of the handbook to add a clarity nobody thought needed to be there. Ironically, mentioning the Patriots, the tuck rule has been one of the earliest examples of such a rule change. At the time Patriots QB Tom Brady lost control of the ball when is arm moved forward; but it was determined it was an incomplete pass since was in throwing motion. Years later, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson changed the game in 2010 when he appeared to have caught a pass in the endzone but did not control the ball and falling down. It prompted the phrase “complete the process” and has turned around quite a few games in addition to raising controversy of what is considered a catch.
The wild part about the Jets call is that Sefarian-Jenkins never lost possession of the ball; he juggled it a little bit and recovered before even heading out of bounds. It’s bad enough the catch definition goes through changes based off how much sweat is in the referee’s eye, but fumbles have been pretty clear cut after all these years. No way that they make a rule change in regards to fumbles, especially in that situation, but that has been said about catches as well.
Scariest time of year for injuries
Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game; and even more unfortunate are when they occur. We are fast approaching the midway point of the season and have already seen 3 superstars go down to injury. Last week, the Houston Texans lost J.J. Watt for the year to a leg injury while New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. suffered the same fate with an ankle injury. This past Sunday, the Green Bay Packers saw their quarterback and leader Aaron Rodgers go down for the year with a collarbone injury. Rodgers had a similar injury in 2013 and returned for the playoffs this season; but this time is just a little different as he has been ruled out for the year.
In October, teams are getting used to being in their groove for the season but it sucks when that is affected by long term injuries. This is also the time of year when a team can get an early hold near the top of the division. For the Packers, they are tied with the Minnesota Vikings for 1st place but things could look a little shaky for them down the line. They will have a new quarterback, obviously, but it might disrupt the flow of offense in the next couple of games against opponents such as the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions, who have the firepower to blow any defense off the map. And with the defense the Packers have, an Aaron Rodgers injury may have become the team’s full strength nightmare.
Is Atlanta Hearing Footsteps
The Atlanta Falcons does not seem to be bothered by any hangover from the Super Bowl collapse but these last 2 games might tell you different. The Falcons have lost 2 straight games and look a little funny in the light preparing for their next game, which is the New England Patriots on the road. But this 2 game losing streak isn’t exactly a helpful thing for your confidence especially when going into the rematch of a team that embarrassed you in the 2nd half of the Super Bowl and completing tone of the more memorable comebacks in sports history. Still, things just get worse from that point.
Atlanta held a strong lead in the first half and blew it away in the 2nd half; something we have all seen before. The Falcons held a 17-0 lead at halftime but gave up 20 straight in the 2nd half, the same way they held a 21-3 lead at halftime – 28-3 in the 3rd quarter – against the Patriots but blew it and gave up 31 straight points, including a touchdown by New England running back James White to win the game in overtime.
The Falcons are an example of that phrase, “heard them footsteps”, whenever a wide receiver drops a ball and a defender just so happens to be close by to almost knock his lights out. For Atlanta, the big “hit” is not really losing to the Patriots, but losing to them the way they did in the Super Bowl. This team was compared to the Golden State Warriors’ infamous 3-1 collapse in the NBA Finals in 2016, which was a pretty big deal as a sports joke at the time. If they want to avoid that same fate, then the Falcons better not worry about those “footsteps” and walk to a tune different than these past couple of weeks.
Adrian Peterson, 100 yards in Arizona debut – The newly traded Arizona Cardinal wasted no time establishing himself as the old AP. After an abysmal 4 game with his former new team, the New Orleans Saints, Peterson was traded to the Cardinals last week and broke out with 134 yards on 26 carries and scored 2 touchdowns. Before this game, he totaled 81 yards on the season.
Giants get their first win – The New York Giants finally got a W when they beat the Denver Broncos 23-10 on Sunday Night football. The Giants were without their core wide receivers Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shephard and Odell Beckham, Jr. It still did not stop the team from pulling out a victory on the road after going winless when starting the year.
KC gets first loss – The Kansas City Chiefs took their first L of the year, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Perhaps the real lowlight for the Chiefs’ 19-13 loss was the fact that rookie, phenom running back Kareem Hunt was held to only 21 yards on 9 carries.
Miami coach sniffs coke – This is a late story I forgot to mention last week but a Miami Dolphins assistant coach was caught on video sniffing cocaine and professing his love to his side piece. Apparently, the mistress leaked the video after her lover made some unpleasant remarks about players standing for the anthem. The coach, Chris Foerester, resigned from his post and checked himself into rehab.
Hopefully everybody will have their noses clean and dug into a nearby television for some big games this weekend. The Falcons and Patriots will meet up for their Super Bowl rematch, as discussed earlier. Also, the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles will meet on Monday Night Football. It should be a good game because the NFC East always puts on a show; plus these two teams are currently 1 and 2 in the division which makes it more likely for them to go at each other’s throats this weekend. But until then…I’ll holla.
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