Colin Kaepernick: From Super Bowl quarterback to NFL outcast amid national anthem controversy

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Jobless quarterback Colin Kaepernick reportedly still won't stand for the playing of the national anthem — and it appears NFL teams still can't stand it.

Following reports Thursday that Kaepernick's tryout for the Seattle Seahawks was postponed ‒ after he told the team he would not stop his national anthem kneeling protests ‒ it appeared the Seahawks signed Stephen Morris for the backup quarterback role Kaepernick was being considered for.

And as quarterback jobs appear to be getting filled across the league, is there still room for Kaepernick?

Colin Kaepernick led the San Francisco 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII.

Colin Kaepernick led the San Francisco 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII. (Reuters)

The Seahawks contacted Kaepernick around two weeks ago, asking him to make a trip to the team’s training center for a practice, ESPN reported Thursday. The trip, however, was put on hold after the Seahawks reportedly argued with Kaepernick about his anthem protest. The team asked him if he would continue kneeling during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" if he was signed to the NFL again and he was “unwilling to give that assurance to them," according to ESPN.

Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem during the 2016 to 2017 season, while he was with the San Francisco 49ers, as part of a protest against perceived police brutality.

Since Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers at the conclusion of that season, no NFL team has signed him.

The Seattle gig is not the first time Kaepernick appears to have been passed over by a team since he became a free agent due to his social justice leanings and associations.

In 2017, the Baltimore Ravens were reportedly interested in bringing on Kaepernick as a backup quarterback but ultimately didn't sign him. Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis claimed Kaepernick would have been signed by the team but a tweet by Kaepernick's girlfriend, Nessa Diab, swayed the team's decision, ABC News reported.

Diab tweeted a picture of Lewis hugging the team’s owner, Steve Biscotti, next to a still frame from the movie “Django Unchained” that showed Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, a slave owner, next to his loyal slave, played by Samuel L. Jackson.


"His girl [Diab] goes out and put out this racist gesture and doesn't know we are in the back office about to try to get this guy signed," Lewis said at the time. "Steve Bisciotti has said it himself: 'How can you crucify Ray Lewis when Ray Lewis is the one calling for Colin Kaepernick?'"

Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL in October, accusing team owners of colluding to keep him out of the league due to his protests.

Once a rising star in the NFL, Kaepernick jumped into the starting quarterback role for the San Francisco 49ers when starter Alex Smith was injured in 2011. Kaepernick led the team to the NFC Championship Game in 2012, but the 49ers lost to the New York Giants in overtime. The next year, Kaepernick led his team to Super Bowl XLVII, but the 49ers were defeated by the Ravens, 34-31.

Kaepernick performed well the following season, again leading the 49ers to an NFC Championship Game, which the team lost. The 49ers then signed Kaepernick to a six-year $126 million contract -- but things went downhill from there.


After signing the contract, Kaepernick was fined $11,000 by the league after using inappropriate language toward another player. The team ended the 2013-14 season at 8-8 and missed the playoffs. The next season, Kaepernick lost the starting gig and was injured.

Colin Kaepernick has remained unsigned since the 2016-17 season.

Colin Kaepernick has remained unsigned since the 2016-17 season. (Reuters)

To start the 2016-17 season, Kaepernick began his national anthem protests. Soon other NFL players joined in, particularly during the next season, at which point Kaepernick was out of the league. The protests angered many — most notably President Trump, who said Kaepernick should have been “suspended” for kneeling.   

"The NFL should have suspended him for one game and he would have never done it again," Trump told Fox News' Sean Hannity in October. "They could have then suspended him for two games and they could have suspended him again if he did it a third time, for the season, and you would never have had a problem."

Kaepernick attended a deposition with NFL lawyers in New York this week regarding his grievance case. It's unclear if any team currently maintains interest in him.