Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins is the latest person to call out NFL teams for leaving Colin Kaepernick unsigned.
In an interview with delawareonline.com on Thursday, Jenkins spoke up about teams’ fear of public criticism regarding the signing of Kaepernick, one of the most experienced quarterbacks still available who drew considerable scrutiny for choosing to kneel in protest during the national anthem last season.
“This is just some other teams being, quite honestly, cowards, to say that they’re afraid of backlash to sign someone to make their team better when fans’ input has never been in the equation when it comes to signing people in the past,” Jenkins told delawareonline.com Thursday. “It’s certain owners’ way of making an example out of [Kaepernick] to discourage anybody else from doing what he did.”
Kaepernick has said that he does not plan to protest during the upcoming season, but remains un
The role of team ownership in the perceived Kaepernick freeze-out has been a controversy unto itself, with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti admitting to considering the court of public opinion before making the call on Kaepernick. The Ravens have been in need of an experienced backup to currently injured starter Joe Flacco, but have brought in less-tested players in recent weeks.
An ESPN report this week suggested Bisciotti’s stance was the main factor in holding the team back from signing the former 49ers quarterback. The Ravens went as far as to issue a public denial of that report.
“Four months ago, there was a debate as to whether [Kaepernick] is talented enough or whatever," Jenkins said. "I think at this point in time when you look at the quarterbacks who have jobs around the league, and the amount of owners and GMs who have only spoken of what fans would think about his stance. I think it’s safe to throw out that talent argument, and basically focus on the fact that he doesn’t have a job solely because he didn’t stand for the anthem last year, even though he already expressed that he planned on standing this year.
Along with Jenkins, players have begun to speak up about Kaepernick’s treatment by ownership. There’s a perception that team owners are motivated by fans’ opinions on Kaepernick’s protest, afraid of losing business, and/or concerned with his protest themselves.
“That message, to me, is loud and clear from owners as to where their priorities stand and how they go about picking and choosing who they want on their teams. It’s definitely unfortunate, but it’s shining a light on just how the NFL operates and what we deem as acceptable. It really has nothing to do with what’s right or wrong, but what affects dollars. That’s business as usual, but I think it’s an unfortunate precedent to set,” Jenkins added.
Jenkins was among the NFL players who decided on some form of anthem protest last season, following Kaepernick in his choice to take a stand against racial injustice in America. He chose to raise a closed fist in solidarity rather than kneel.