Quarterback Tim Tebow’s upcoming return to the NFL has caused consternation for many who are questioning the decision to hire the aging football star while Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned.
It is anticipated that the 33-year-old Tebow, who has not played in the NFL since 2012, will sign a one-year deal to play tight end for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the next week, NFL Network is reporting. However, there are some questioning the judgment of this acquisition due to Tebow being an “aging player at a lesser position.”
Others on social media criticized the decision on the basis that Kaepernick is still not signed.
Amongst the range of opinions, one person’s take in particular touched a nerve with many. Former Republican congressional candidate Lavern Spicer took to Twitter with her response to all the Tebow-Kaepernick takes.
“Tim Tebow is getting signed because he knows how to throw a football,” she wrote. “Colin Kaepernick isn’t getting signed because he doesn’t. It’s not about race.”
The reactions to that tweet were numerous, and varied as well. Much of the discussion devolved into player comparisons and football fans broaching Kaepernick’s superior career quarterback stats and Tebow’s dubious throwing skills. Multiple commenters also saliently pointed out that playing tight end would mean Tebow typically would not be passing the ball.
Several posters compared statistics such as all-time quarterback ratings for Kaepernick and Tebow, which are 88.9, and 75.3 respectively, according to ESPN.
One user wrote, “Tebow is getting signed so his coach can use him as a locker room narc, to help hype training camp, and sell preseason tickets. Kaepernick didn’t get signed because the owners were blackballing him.”
Another Twitter user remarked, “How many Super Bowls did Tebow play in? I lost count at zero…,” to which Spicer responded, “And how many rings does your boy Kaepernick have? I lost count at zero.”
The comments were swift, and cutting. Answering Spicer’s tweet, a user posted, “Since you’re doing that, how many Playoff wins or SuperBowl Appearances does Tebow have??? I don’t know if you’re just trolling to get attention for whatever is that you do but you Candace Owens Blks are part of the reason we can’t get s**t done.”
One person posted “None. Kap was too busy fighting for the right of YOUR black child not to be gunned down in the street by state-sponsored actors.”
A different tweet read, “FWIW: Colin’s moves to advance social justice and policing responsibility is going to positively affect your life, and the life of your children. Show some respect to people trying to make good change in the world. It’s clear you aren’t the right candidate. No empathy or vision.”
In 2013, Kaepernick started a promising career as a San Francisco 49ers quarterback with 181 rushing yards in his first postseason start and leading the team to their 2013 Super Bowl appearance.
Kaepernick’s NFL career was never the same again after he began kneeling for pregame performances of the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice during the 2016 season. He received rebukes from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, as well as many other prominent right-wing politicians and media figures called for him to be fired over his gesture. He opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers at the end of the 2016 season, and since then he has remained a free agent, and has not been signed by any NFL team. Kaepernick has remained an outspoken advocate for social justice since what appears to be the end of his football career.
Spicer has not as yet responded to any other comments, but it is clear Tebow’s presence in the preseason would drive local fan interest in Jacksonville. The former University of Florida star led the Gators to national championships in 2006 and 2008 while playing at nearby Gainesville. The signing would reunite him with his coach at Florida, Urban Meyer, who was lured out of retirement to become the Jaguars’ head coach in January.