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.

Free speech is more important than a feel good story

I recently saw a post somewhere on Reddit about a 1958 incident in North Carolina:

On the night of January 13, 1958, crosses were burned on the front lawns of two Lumbee Indian families in Robeson County, N.C. Nobody had to ask who was responsible. The Ku Klux Klan had risen again in North Carolina, its ranks swelling after the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education calling for the desegregation of public schools. While the Court instructed schools to proceed with “all deliberate speed,” the Klan fought — often in the form of anonymous nighttime attacks — to slow the process of integration…

Not content to leave it at this, the Klan planned a rally in Robeson County to be held just a few days later….

The rally was scheduled for the night of January 18, 1958, in a field near Maxton, N.C. The stated purpose of the gathering was, in the words of Catfish Cole, “to put the Indians in their place, to end race mixing.” The time and location of the rally was not kept secret, and word spread quickly among the local Lumbee population.

Reports vary about the number of people gathered on that cold night, but there were thought to have been around a hundred Klan members. They brought a large banner emblazoned with “KKK” and a portable generator, which powered a public address system and a single bare light bulb. When the meeting began, the arc of the dim light didn’t spread far enough for the Klansmen to see that they were surrounded by as many as a thousand Lumbees. Several young tribe members, some of whom were armed, closed on the Klan meeting and tried to take down the light bulb. The groups fought, and a shotgun blast shattered the light. In the sudden darkness, the Lumbees descended upon the field, yelling and firing guns into the air, scattering the overmatched Klansmen. Some left under police protection while others, including [Klan leader] Catfish Cole, simply took to the woods.

Of course, it’s no surprise that Reddit ate this up. Why, those racists deserved what they got. After decades and decades of intimidation, not to mention recent illegal acts like cross burnings, no rational person can sympathize with their meeting being broken up. But this isn’t about sympathy. This is about Constitutional rights. The KKK had a right to gather and talk about their racist stupidity all they wanted. It was never the place of the Lumbee Indians to stop the meeting, attacking people and destroying property. They were cowards.

This is where I have to pause to make a note: this isn’t about defending the KKK or showing any support for its positions. This is about free speech: if you aren’t willing to stand up for the free speech rights of every group – even and especially the ones you dislike – then you simply do not support free speech. I hope you enjoy your association with fascism.

Fast forward to today and we have another instance of racists and, largely, Native Americans coming face-to-face:

Having apparently learned its lesson from its predecessors, the modern [neo-Nazi movement] decided to avoid large cities (where anybody might show up with a full tank of gas and half a pack of cigarettes) and take over the small town of Leith, North Dakota…

Leith lay on the outskirts of Bismarck, North Dakota, evidently chosen for the name’s unsinkable record in Nazi history. Until recently, the town of Leith had a population of 24; and it probably would have forever had [the neo-Nazis] not started buying up property there, intending to install it as a foothold for America’s new Nazi movement…

[But one Nazi leader] and all of his Nazi followers may not get the peaceful Aryan paradise they’re looking for — because about 300 protesters showed up to make life a little less peaceful.

Those protesters included about 200 Native Americans from nearby reservations, who played a pivotal role in organizing the protest. The crowd chanted things like:

“Creepy Nazis, Ku Kluzers, get the Hell out of here!”

All these protestors are to be admired and praised. Instead of acting like the cowards of the Lumbee tribe, they stood up, face-to-face with Nazi scum, and fought the protected speech of the neo-Nazis with their own protected speech. That’s how it’s done.

What I find so frustrating about all this, though, is the political correctness pervading the whole discussion. The entire reason I’m writing about isn’t because of the people who side with the Lumbee tribe. I’m writing because of the people who automatically think it’s racist or otherwise wrong to defend the free speech rights of the KKK. It should be obvious to any thinking person that that is not the case, and here is a perfect knock-down of some real bullshit: If anyone thinks it’s racist motivations that lead one to condemn the Lumbee tribe, then they are left with an incoherent hole in their argument when we see a lack of condemnation of the Native Americans who protested the neo-Nazis in North Dakota.

Nope, wrong

PZ has a post about circumcision where he goes through the arguments in favor of the procedure based upon a video. (I haven’t watched the video nor will I because from what I gather it’s just a hack piece which does not focus on circumcision as performed by medical professionals in a medical setting.) Two of the arguments he quotes are apparently from a single guy and should just be boiled down to one: ’cause religion says to do it. Another one appeals to tradition, which is also a bogus argument, but then PZ has this last one:

The health benefits. Total bullshit. As one of the speakers in the movie explains, there have been progressive excuses: from it prevents masturbation to it prevents cancer to it prevents AIDS. The benefits all vanish with further studies and are all promoted by pro-circumcision organizations. It doesn’t even make sense: let’s not pretend people have been hacking at penises for millennia because there was a clinical study. Hey, let’s chop off our pinkie toes and then go looking for medical correlations!

PZ is wrong. The evidence has not suddenly vanished that circumcision prevents the transmission of HIV in high risk groups. Furthermore, it is blatantly invalid to dismiss this evidence because it may be used by pro-circumcision organizations, whatever those are.

If PZ wants to argue that circumcision holds little to no health benefits in places like the United States and other low risk nations for certain diseases, he can do that and be perfectly accurate. But if he wants to argue that circumcision has zero benefits in all circumstances, then he is in denial of the preliminary evidence.

Where I was wrong

Blizzard, the company that owns the World of Warcraft game, has made a very stupid decision.

The first and most significant change is that in the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID — that is, their real-life first and last name — with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game, with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm. Certain classic forums, including the classic forums, will remain unchanged.

This is a dumb move that puts people in real, physical danger. The Internet is not filled with a bunch of sunny, happy gamers. A lot of people are dicks. They get pretty crazy about this stuff.

But I don’t play any of those sort of games. I don’t care for them. What I care about comes from PZ (indirectly).

There’s a good discussion going on at Shakesville — this decision is an exercise in privilege by Blizzard. There are a fair number of female gamers who would rather not advertise the fact…because many male gamers are jerks.

I disagree that this is an exercise in privilege. That to me suggests a malicious intent on the part of Blizzard. In reality, the company is trying to cut down on douchebaggery. Its intention is not to adversely affect women – though that’s what will happen. (But this is semantic. I know PZ doesn’t mean Blizzard is targeting or intentionally ignoring women, and I further know the word “exercise” can be understood to mean that. But the connotations suggest something far more negative on the part of Blizzard. If PZ said example, I wouldn’t disagree.)

But PZ has a second post about the fast-paced failure of Blizzard’s experiment. In this one he talks about how this will harm many women, increasing the sexual harassment they will endure in their gaming experience. He links to this article by Jessica Valenti.

One website, run by law professor and occasional New York Times columnist Ann Althouse, devoted an entire article to how I was “posing” [in a picture with Bill Clinton] so as to “make [my] breasts as obvious as possible”. The post, titled “Let’s take a closer look at those breasts,” ended up with over 500 comments. Most were about my body, my perceived whorishness, and how I couldn’t possibly be a good feminist because I had the gall to show up to a meeting with my breasts in tow. One commenter even created a limerick about me giving oral sex. Althouse herself said that I should have “worn a beret . . . a blue dress would have been good too”. All this on the basis of a photograph of me in a crew-neck sweater from Gap.

I won’t even get into the hundreds of other blogs and websites that linked to the “controversy.” It was, without doubt, the most humiliating experience of my life – all because I dared be photographed with a political figure.

In March of 2009, I made a post about Sheril Kirshenbaum. In it I defended some comments by male posters which pointed out her looks.

Let’s keep in mind what the original post was all about. It was an introduction. Is there a specific, pre-approved, politically correct response expected? I see an intro to a new blog, a short description, and a picture – the most prominent thing about the post – and not much else. It is entirely reasonable to comment on the picture.

No, it isn’t.

It is reasonable to expect comments on pictures of attractive women, but it is not reasonable to focus merely on that. Reading over that post makes me cringe. I’m embarrassed.

Some of that embarrassment only comes from the fact that hindsight shows me how easy it is to misunderstand many of my points. In a couple of places, I point out minutiae simply for the sake of accuracy.

First of all, I prefer accuracy so let’s augment that last statement a tad. It’s never acceptable to judge anyone based on appearances and number X chromosomes, in most instances.

That’s true – and virtually everyone agrees with it. No one ought to expect people to go on dates, for example, without any physical standards. Part of a good relationship is attraction, and that comes in much more than a mere intellectual form.

But there I go again. It sounds like I’m saying it’s okay to publicly pass judgement on Kirshenbaum’s looks in the given context. I’m not. At least not now. But unfortunately, for specific comments (i.e., the more benign ones), I was saying it was okay. That was wrong.

This doesn’t mean I’m embarrassed in the least about my response to caricature feminists who think a picture of fat women accompanying an article about fat women is sexist. My response was correct there. Obesity was being objectified, not women. And sexism is not defined as a one-way street.

But, again, I am embarrassed about my response to Kirshenbaum. I’ll stand by some of the details of my post – if it’s sexist to comment on Kirshenbaum’s looks, then it’s sexist when female guests do the same to Sean Hannity – but I do not stand by the primary point I was making. No. It was objectification when those users honed in on Kirshenbaum’s looks.

I was wrong.

This Is Your Brain On Reality TV

By Kaytlyn Gillis

Every decade has its fads. Some leave us speechless. Some just never leave: how many of us wish that Billy Ray had never left us with the Mullet? (…or Miley for that matter?)

When my college roommates would get together and watch a weekly elimination, reality show, I would first blast my iPod, slowly losing respect for them with each passing episode. However, as all things that are bad for you tend to do, these shows soon became
addicting. My brain became addicted to the drug that is reality TV, and my DVR box found itself recording each episode of “Tool Academy” for my viewing pleasure.

Sometime after Dawson professed his undying love to Joey, someone thought it would be more entertaining to watch “reality”. After all, what could be more fun that watching everyday situations unfold on the screen after you’ve already experienced them firsthand? Families found themselves together once more, this time to watch people just like them compete against each other for large sums of money. As most fads in America do, this “real” TV quickly turned into “make-you-feel-boring-because-you’re-too-normal” TV.

People everywhere began to look at themselves closer, finding that their interpersonal relationships, their jobs, and their midlife crises were just plain old…well, boring. Soon people were competing not only for money, but for more “realistic” prizes, such as life partners.

The emergence of shows like Survivor seemed to unleash our inner Gladiators. Soon Americans couldn’t wait to see who’d be slaughtered next. Thanks to Paris Hilton’s “My BFF”, young girls worldwide now have a grasp on the true meaning of friendship: being able to match this season’s sweater with the hottest new designer bag, all while looking “sexy”. This, along with MTV’s “The Hills” and “My Super Sweet 16”, really brought youngsters down to earth and showed them the true value of life: money, looks, and popularity. I actually found myself feeling bad for one of the girls when her thoughtless father gave her a boring BMW sedan at her sweet 16th party instead of the shiny new Porsche she dreamed of. If my dad did such a careless thing to me I’d…. well I’d…. there I went slipping into “reality” again. I hate when that happens.

As for “18 Kids and Counting”? Yes, let’s praise this couple for having more children than there are eggs in the average carton. It is apparently entertainment to need an entire bus to bring your children into the community. Now we have people competing against each other in cooking competitions, modeling competitions, and even boyfriend competitions (even I felt bad for some of the guys in Tool Academy).

Have we simply run out of ideas for TV? Perhaps Hollywood is being cheap. After all, it probably costs a lot less to hire “average people” than to pay high-profile actors.

Nonetheless, there are always those brave ones who decide to bring things back, and I’m not just referring to Justin Timberlake. Just last week I stood behind a woman with striped balloon pants and a matching windbreaker. I half expected her to start telling me I couldn’t touch things (namely “this”) and that the time was Hammer. I wonder (hope for) when reality TV will become one of these retro-fads, leaving us to ask ourselves “What were we thinking?”

Doing Away with Fear and Paranoia

Without Apology does not encourage anonymity, but this is a special case. Due to the nature of this piece, misinterpretations and overreactions are ripe for the happening. As always, there is no vouching for the opinions of others at this publication, but there is vouching for the factual claims being made. The writer does work for a company which caters to the needs of the mentally ill and mentally retarded and his of an incident there is true.

By Anonymous

I work for a company that labors to rehabilitate and mentor people with mental disabilities and illnesses. Our most significant goal for each person is to increase their self-sufficiency and help them become more productive members of society, thus giving them richer and fuller lives. I believe whole heartedly in this mission. It is a noble cause to raise up an individual and give him a greater sense of dignity and self-respect, to show him a world of wider possibilities and expand the future before him.

But guiding a person towards these goals is a difficult task. For many, too little faith has been invested in their potential and sadly they believe in the doubts this implies. As a result their days are spent in idleness, not reaching for what they can become. This boredom often leads to contentious behavior which creates endless cycles of power struggles and petty dramas.

What’s worse is we as staff cannot say so much as boo to them because of the hysterical hypersensitivities that permeate the air – sensitivities rooted in our guilty from past historical abuses. Now we disable them with our pity.

We give them food, shelter, money, activities, privileges and ask for nothing in return from them. This gives them a false impression of how life works and we do them a disservice for it. What incentive is there to achieve anything when reward comes before effort?

Discipline is necessary for any person to succeed and it must be implemented in the lives of these ‘clients’ for them to mature. Yet we as staff are powerless to this end. We are handcuffed by blind regulations and a lack of consideration for the true needs of these people. From what I see, many workers and agencies are too preoccupied with protecting themselves from potential legal and social persecution to serve their clients effectively.

I recall when a client came to me asking for me to mop the bathroom floor after he had spilled water on it. I told him I would get the mop and bucket but that he was capable of cleaning his own mess. A week or two later I was called into the office and questioned about this matter.

I ask, must we excuse these perfectly capable people of all responsibility?

We are there to help them when they need help, but we are not there to coddle them into atrophy. If our goal is truly to help the mentally disabled become more productive, self-sufficient members of society, then we must change our current course. Society must acknowledge the reality of their disabilities while not denying the existence of their capabilities.

Let us do away with our fear and paranoia, and let us focus on what these people really need: discipline, encouragement, genuine concern, and a little faith.