For Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, Colin Kaepernick’s ongoing free-agency struggles aren’t a matter of football or color.
“It’s about, ‘Boy, stay in your place,'” he said.
Sherman’s comments came during a recent interview with USA TODAY’s Jarrett Bell where he offered words of support for the former San Francisco 49er, who has seemingly been blackballed by the NFL in the wake of his controversial national anthem protest.
Floating as a free agent since early March, Kaepernick has repeatedly been passed over by the league for lesser-skilled quarterbacks like Geno Smith, Matt McGloin and Dan Orlovsky, according to SBNation.com. What’s worse, only two teams have even considered the quarterback for their teams: the Seahawks and the Baltimore Ravens.
“The funny thing about it, when you’re not being blackballed, you don’t have to say, ‘He’s not being blackballed,” Sherman said. “When football’s a safe game, you don’t have to say, ‘Football’s a safe game.’ It seems like the commissioner always has to say things to justify something.”
“But you didn’t even do this with Mike Vick,” he added. “Vick came back and [eventually] got a $100 million deal.”
Sherman, a Super Bowl champion and all-pro player entering his seventh NFL season, not only took jabs at team owners, GMs and the commissioner for Kaepernick’s situation, but also at fellow players for remaining hush-hush on the matter. Believing that many players in the league share his sentiments, Sherman asserted that other footballers need to speak up on Kaepernick’s behalf too.
“Not a lot of guys are willing to step out there,” the Stanford University alum said. “So, the guys not speaking up for him are doing him a disservice. There should be a lot more guys saying something. Most guys are like, ‘I don’t want my job to end up the same way.’ ”
“Mike B. speaks up,” Sherman added, referring to his teammate, defensive end Michael Bennett, who has also expressed strong opinions about Kaepernick.
Bennett told USA Today Sports that the situation reveals a racial divide within the league, adding that accused rapists and drunk drivers have been allowed back in, while Kaepernick has seemingly been punished for taking a stand.
“He’s somebody who didn’t do anything to anybody,” the footballer said. “But, you hear owners say, ‘We have to ask our fan base first.’ But the Giants kept Josh Brown [amid a domestic violence issue]. Ben Roethlisberger has been accused of rape twice, [but] the organization didn’t turn their back on him. They gave him a contract extension.”
Sherman admitted he was surprised the Seahawks didn’t sign the seasoned quarterback when they brought him in for a meeting last month. For him, Kaepernick would’ve been a great fit for the team. He again took aim at the NFL for trying to appease fans by putting less-talented players on the field in lieu of signing Kaepernick.
Rubbing salt in the wound, Sherman then ran down the list of QBs whose skills aren’t on par with those of the athlete-turned activist: Jacksonville Jaguars’ Blake Bortles, Tampa Bay Buccaneer Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Los Angeles Rams’ Jared Goff, among others.
Though Sherman and Kaepernick have been rivals on the field, the Seattle Seahawk said his passion for speaking up on a fellow player’s behalf goes beyond the game of football.
“On the field, I’m an adversary,” he told USA Today. “Off the field, we’re cool. Cordial. You just don’t ever want anything like this to happen to anybody — it’s unfair. He’s out there sacrificing for more people than himself.”