Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have a job because he sucks

There has been a lot of talk since NFL free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract back in March. A lot of casual football fans knew his name years ago when he had some decent success in San Francisco, long before he made national headlines for kneeling during the anthem before games. So it has been a surprise to some that the season is well underway and he’s still unsigned. Some sports fans and many non-sports fans (“Sportsball! lol!”) have taken to claiming that his continued existence in free agency is due to racism. Even though many players have been kneeling, he was the first and he made all the headlines, so now owners and coaches are keeping him in his place as a black man, they say.

That’s bullshit.

Colin Kaepernick isn’t on an NFL team because 1) he’s a bottom-tier quarterback, 2) he wants to start, 3) he wants starter money, 4) he wants multiple years, and 5) he isn’t better than any current starter on a playoff-bound or playoff-bubble team.

I recently read an article where Richard Sherman of the Seahawks listed a handful of quarterbacks Kaepernick was better than. I’m going to address a host of quarterbacks and teams in a moment, so I won’t delve into the details of Sherman’s comment, but I will note one example he had. The Jets quarterback. He got the name wrong, but it’s who-gives-a-damn. (Okay, it’s Josh McCown.) Kaepernick is better than him. The Jets are also going to win 1 to 3 games this season. (I’m amazed they even won one so far.) So, sure, Kaep > McCown. But why in the hell would the Jets sign Kaep? What would the point be? They’re actively trying to tank this year.

So without further ado, I want to go through every NFL team and their starting quarterbacks to quickly see where Kaepernick might fit.

Bills – Tyrod Taylor is marginally better than Kaepernick with marginally greater upside. You could probably swap the two quarterbacks without noticing much offensive difference, but the Bills don’t know where their future is right now.

Patriots – Tom Brady is the greatest player in NFL history.

Dolphins – They replaced Tannehill with Cutler because 1) they only needed a one year replacement, 2) Cutler is comparable to Tannehill, 3) the Dolphins want a pocket passer, and 4) Tony Romo didn’t want to do it. This was Kaepernick’s best shot at getting on the field in 2017, but he wasn’t going to get multiple years and a big pay day in the process.

Jets – Like I said, Kaepernick is better than McCown without a doubt. The Jets are also intentionally tanking.

Chiefs – Kaepernick was Smith’s backup at one point. Smith is absolutely better.

Broncos – Is Trevor Siemian the future of the Broncos? I doubt it, but he has upside and he’s still only 25. Besides, the Broncos tried trading for Kaepernick, but he nixed the deal because he wouldn’t take a pay cut and no one wanted to cover his bloated salary. He isn’t worth as much as he thinks he is at the quarterback position.

Raiders – Derek Carr is wildly better.

Chargers – Philip Rivers is wildly better. He’ll finish his career in…sigh…LA.

Ravens – Flacco is slightly better, his most recent game notwithstanding. Rumor had Kaepernick working on a deal, but it’s unclear why it fell apart.

Steelers – Roethlisberger is a top 5 quarterback with at least this season left, possibly next season.

Bengals – Dalton is a mid-tier quarterback who has the job secured right now.

Browns – As always, the Browns are trying to build. Kaepernick is better than Kizer, who probably won’t be the future, but he’s still a rookie. At any rate, this team is not playoff bound, so why would they spend money on Kaepernick?

Titans – Mariota is severely underrated and he’s the Titans future for years to come.

Jaguars – Had the Jaguars cut ties with Bortles, I suspect Kaepernick would have ended up here, even with the team not being playoff bound. But they didn’t cut ties, so here we are.

Colts – I think Luck is overrated, but he’s a consistently in top 10 lists, and usually top 5. Jacoby Brissett is filling the role very well right now.

Texans – Watson is the future and he’s light years better than Kaepernick.

Eagles – They want Wentz to be the future.

Redskins – Cousins is either going to get franchise tagged or sign a huge long-term deal.

Cowboys – Dak is the future.

Giants – Eli, while mediocre, has 2-4 years left.

Rams – Goff might be the future. Probably not. But he’s a rookie. And the team is absolutely not playoff bound.

Cardinals – Palmer is a top 10 quarterback.

Seahawks – Wilson is a top 5 quarterback.

49ers – Well, this isn’t an option, now is it?

Vikings – Bradford is in the top half of quarterbacks. He’ll be around for awhile.

Lions – Stafford is criminally underrated and the leader of the Lions for years to come.

Packers – Aaron Rodgers is the second best quarterback in the league.

Bears – Glennon is trash and Kaepernick is absolutely better. The Bears also aren’t playoff bound, plus Trubisky is the intended future.

Falcons – Matt Ryan is one of the best in the league with years and years left.

Panthers – Cam Newton is their guy (though he’s really overrated).

Buccaneers – Winston is mid-tier and their guy.

Saints – Drew Brees has a couple of more years left and he’s one of the greatest of all time.

So, to recap, Kaepernick is better than Mike Glennon, Brian Hoyer (of the 49ers), Blake Bortles, McCown, Jay Cutler, maybe Tyrod Taylor, maybe Trevor Siemian, and maybe Joe Flacco. Two of those quarterbacks – Joe Flacco and Trevor Siemian – are on potential playoff teams. No deal was to be had in Baltimore, and Siemian has upside.

If Kaepernick was desperate to have any contract, including a cheap back-up contract, and no one would sign him, I’d be the first to say he was being blackballed. But as it stands, there’s no team that has a single reason to sign him to be their starter. If he wants to suit up, he has to be willing to ride the bench or wait until next year when he absolutely should get signed.

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Thought of the day

Free speech has no legal restrictions in the United States. Not a single one.

  • Laws against incitement are not restrictions on free speech.
  • Laws against threats are not restrictions on free speech.
  • Laws against fighting words are not restrictions on free speech.

All of these things are outside the definition of free speech in the first place; free speech is any expression which does not violate the rights of others. To say that the illegality of something which violates a right is also a restriction on said right is nonsensical. No one argues that the illegality of murder is a restriction on one’s right to liberty for that very reason. Murder isn’t part of the definition of liberty in the first place. It can’t be. No rights violation can ever be part of the definition of the right(s) it violates.

Martin Shkreli engaged in protected speech

Martin Shkreli, the CEO that so-called news organizations inappropriately refer to by the nickname “pharma bro”, recently had his bail revoked:

Shkreli, 34, was hauled off to the Brooklyn Metropolitan Correctional Center on Wednesday night after a judge revoked his bail over a Facebook posting that offered $5,000 to any follower who would grab a hair off Hillary Clinton’s head during her book tour.

The former pharmaceutical executive β€” who first came to national attention for hiking the price of a life-saving drug β€” insisted the posting was a joke. The judge, however, wasn’t laughing.

(To be clear, I don’t actually care that he has been nicknamed “pharma bro”. I just think it’s dumb that allegedly professional news organizations have taken to actually using that moniker.)

Here’s Shkreli’s Facebook post:

Shkreli

This is what is immediately clear about that post. 1) It has absurd premises. 2) His offer is absurd. 3) It was posted to his Facebook page, which is run for the sake of being absurd and/or trolling.

None of those things were taken into account by Judge Kiyo Matsumoto. Furthermore, she failed to take into account any of Brandenburg. As a result, she made this incorrect and irresponsible statement:

“This is not protected by the First Amendment,” U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto said before revoking the $5 million bond. “There’s a risk that somebody may take him up on it.”

Matsumoto had wide latitude to revoke Shkreli’s bail, so it’s perplexing why she would so intentionally spread misinformation. She ought to be embarrassed that she didn’t even pretend she was applying any basic First Amendment test here. This is a Maeghan Maloney-level understanding of free speech rights.

Shkreli’s bail status notwithstanding, if someone wants to show that his Facebook ‘offer’ was not protected speech, they need to apply the three-pronged Brandenburg test – something the judge didn’t do. Did his speech demonstrate 1) intent, 2) imminence, and 3) likelihood of lawless action? I don’t think it showed a single one.

Let’s start with intent. (This can include instances where a person should have reasonably expected his speech would result in lawless action.) Look at the post and how absurd it is at every turn. He said the Clinton Foundation has murdered people. He said he potentially already has Clinton’s DNA. He offered a tiny sum for a huge risk. It’s wildly clear that he isn’t even remotely serious. Even when he responded to someone where he said “I’m serious”, it’s impossible to believe him. He’s a 4chan poster without the anonymity. No reasonable person could believe that this was a real offer.

Next is imminence. How could this possibly result in imminent lawless action? Someone reading that post would have to 1) be in the same area as Clinton, 2) know she was in the same area, 3) know where to find her in the very near future, and 4) have a way to get close to her. It is 100% impossible that Clinton could have been in imminent danger. Even if a person was in the same city as Clinton and knew it, and even if she was in public at the very moment Shkreli made his Facebook post, that person would still have to have a way to get to her and to get access to her. And if they were across town and had to get in their car to drive to a convention center where they had to buy a ticket to get in? You’ve just lost your imminence.

And finally, likelihood. Give me a break. For it to be likely that someone would take him up on this offer, all of the following would have to be true of someone who read his post:

    They would have to be unaware that Shkreli is a dedicated troll.
    They would have to believe he was serious.
    They would have to be motivated by $5,000 per hair that had a follicle.
    They would have to think that more than one follicle was necessary for some reason, and that’s why Shkreli was incentivizing the capture of multiple strands.
    They would have to believe that The Clinton Foundation murdered one or more people.
    They would have to believe that Shkreli had Clinton’s DNA already.
    They would have to be willing to risk their freedom at the least and their life at the most.
    They would have to know where Clinton was and when she could be found in public.
    They would have to be near that location.
    They would have to be able to get near Clinton’s head.

There are two things in that list that are likely. One, people actually do think the Clintons have murdered people, so it’s not a stretch to say there are probably people who think their foundation has been complicit in killing. Two, I’m sure Clinton’s tour schedule has been published somewhere. But other than that? You could argue that it’d be possible to yank a hair from her head during some fan photograph session, but I don’t imagine that would go unnoticed by her Secret Service detail.

Martin Shkreli’s Facebook post fails every single part of the Brandenburg test. Every. Single. Part. It’s not even a close call that what he said was entirely protected speech – at least outside a bail hearing. And, once again, that’s what makes this so perplexing. Judge Matsumoto didn’t need to make up an incoherent First Amendment claim in order to justify revoking bail. She could have just done it. She ought to be embarrassed at her actions on the bench.