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Are you a Kaepernick or a Tebow? While We’re Waiting

Oh boy, partisan politics have been getting a tad bit contentious. President Donald Trump continues to make headlines as he repeatedly throws his own administration under the bus after they have done their best to spin the latest episode of As the Donald Turns. The liberal folk haven’t helped themselves either as they have screamed after even the most innocuous moves, which has left many skeptical of anything said from that side of the spectrum. So, how about we retreat into the safe space that is professional sports today.

Not that sports are an actual safe space from politics. Just start a discussion asking those in attendance their feelings about either Colin Kaepernick or Tim Tebow. You can quickly decipher party leanings in a matter of moments or make a dinner date with the parents of your significant others quite uncomfortable.

It is humorous since these two are so similar as players and as men.

The quarterback

Kaepernick is a mobile quarterback whose pistol offense took the NFL by storm as he led the San Francisco 49ers to a Superbowl after Alex Smith was injured. NFL defenses caught up to his offense and he has struggled to continue to be considered a starting option since. In 2016, he lost the starting job to Blaine Gabbert before Gabbert did Gabbert things. Head coach Chip Kelly still waited until mid-October to make the switch to Kaepernick. He would throw 16 touchdowns to just four interceptions, but he did so by managing the game for a team that went 1-10 with him at the helm. He only threw for only 6.8 YPA and 186 yards per game.

Tim Tebow was an unstoppable force in college on his way to winning National Championships and the Heisman trophy. His ability to run over defenders and make accurate downfield passes was the perfect combination for those Florida Gator teams. He briefly was the starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos after Kyle Orton was injured as he developed an uncanny ability to make the perfect throw late in the game to help them break into the playoffs. There he defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers on just such a throw to Demaryius Thomas. A wonky throwing motion would mitigate trust in his ability to quarterback as he was cut after just two seasons with Denver. The New York Jets, New England Patriots, and Philadelphia Eagles each tried him out as a fullback / tight end / quarterback combination player. He did not stick with any team though he would play two games for the Jets.

The man

Kaepernick is a liberal social warrior who is an activist willing to donate and speak out for causes he deems worthy. Even those who disagree with his causes should be able to discern he is a noble and spiritual man who is doing what he believes is the correct thing to do. He has given well over a million dollars to ship food to Somalia, help fund Meals on Wheels, sponsor the protests at Standing Rock, and, of course, continue his efforts with Black Lives Matter. As part of BLM, he has used his status to create a platform to seek out trust building discussions, town halls, and out reach programs between the police and communities they serve.

Tebow is a conservative philanthropist who has also made donations of money, time, and speech a daily part of his devotion. He started the Tim Tebow Foundation whose chief goal is to bring hope to those in need across the world- particularly children. Tebow even pays the salaries of everyone on staff in order to ensure that all donations go directly to outreach programs such as the mission trips he sponsors. He views his celebrity and athletic ability as a platform for his charitable works, which is the focus of his life. Even those who disagree with his religious message should be able to discern he is a noble and spiritual man who is doing what he believes is the correct thing to do.

The current controversy

Kaepernick is looking for a job. The pseudo-controversy revolves around whether or not he is being black-balled by the NFL. There are mixed reports, but it seems he asked the 49ers to remain as the starting quarterback for around $10 million per year if he were to re-write his deal. Instead, he was released, and he has not stated what his desires are. There are reports that only the Seattle Seahawks have even inquired about him as a backup option.

Quarterbacks such as Josh McCown and Blaine Gabbert have signed cheap deals elsewhere. Tony Romo and Jay Cutler have retired after being unable to find what they considered suitable employment. Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to look. Yet, it is Kaepernick who has had numerous articles penned on his behalf demanding an explanation for why he has yet to find gainful employment- and as a starter.

Many believe his kneeling during the National Anthem during games in 2016 that gave him status as a chief figurehead in the BLM movement is the reason he has yet to find a NFL job. Others note that his three-year sample looks awfully similar to Ryan Fitzpatrick in completion percentage (60%-60%), YPA (6.9-7.1), touchdown to interception ratio (41:19-60:40), yards per game (195-217), and quarterback rating (86-84).1

Tebow has a job. The pseudo-controversy revolves around his current employment being as a minor league baseball player after the New York Mets signed him to a $100,000 contract. There are many within the baseball community that feel it is unfair a 29 year old who spent over a decade away from the sport should displace even one minor league player from a roster. The furor is over Tebow being more marketing gimmick than actual prospect, which even the Mets have hinted to be true. The backlash has been loud against signing a player for such a purpose.

The playing level of Tebow has been a surprise to many. It took a current 0-for-10 slump to allow Dash Winningham to pass him as the second-best hitter on the team (Michael Paez being the best) as he has a slash line of .227/.309/.645. The numbers are not eye-popping, but they are adequate. In left field, he has two errors and an outfield assist. Moreover, as a marketing tool, he has been useful as the gates are up 30% at home and even more on the road (eight of the first 11 road games were sold out). His teammates have embraced his positive outlook, while also treating him as the rookie he is.

Last Word

Tim Tebow has long been a champion of many conservatives, and Colin Kaepernick is a newfound champion of many liberals. Maybe there is hope for all of us though because these men aren’t all that different. Sometimes it is nice to remember- no matter how strong we debate each other- neither are we.

  1. Cody Kessler eight GS, 66%, 153yd/gm, 6TD, 2INT, 7.1YPA, 92.3QBrating []

  • woofersus

    Yes, I think that would be a very good situation for him.

  • woofersus

    I started to make a Rasta joke here and then thought better of it.

  • WFNY_DP

    There is something to the Harbaugh effect, though, too. Alex Smith was on his way out of the league before Harbaugh, and is just fortunate/smart to have landed next to Andy Reid. Harbaugh also turned “shoved out the door at Iowa” Jake Ruddock into an NFL draft pick in one season, and Wilton Speight from “if he’s our starter we’re screwed” to a top-3 B!G QB in two seasons. I can’t wait to see what he does with the guys he actually recruited…

  • RGB

    Does this mean we can get our morality panties out of a wad and get on board with our potentially hellacious DL.

  • Steve

    Of course “unfairly” and “vilify” are completely in the eye of the beholder, and not really a fair equivalence.

  • WFNY_DP

    “DA was good until he got figured out”

    Citation needed.

  • Saggy

    If you’re black you wear pig-cop socks and for a reason. I hate cops. I don’t trust cops. I have been arrested before by cops pretending to do their jobs (cases thrown out of court – once laughed out of court – on both occasions). I have seen cops pat down black people wearing nothing but a pair of soccer shorts, socks, and shoes.

    I got much love for both of these kids.

  • WFNY_DP

    I’m genuinely asking: aren’t all protests inherently disrespectful? Who are we to decide what is and isn’t appropriate or not appropriate? He wasn’t hurting anyone. He wasn’t infringing on anyone else’s right. He was exercising his right to freedom of expression, which is the very thing that people who died for our country DIED FOR: to protect our Constitution.

    Re: “the wrong way”… Saying a protest has to fit into your prescribed box doesn’t really make it much of a protest, does it?

    (I’m genuinely, sincerely not trying to poke the bear or stir anything up. I just don’t agree with this sentiment and want to know *why* what he did was wrong. I’ll hang up and listen.)

  • WFNY_DP

    To clarify my longer comment:
    “I just don’t agree with his method of protest for the reasons stated above.”

    What, specifically, are those reasons? “It’s disrespectful” isn’t enough, IMHO, because it’s totally subjective. I didn’t feel disrespected by it, and I’m as American as anyone else.

  • mgbode

    But, you can see that being a figurehead of a movement and wanting to bridge the two sides makes it a difficult starting point wearing them, right?

    To his full credit, as noted, he didn’t let that define him. He is helping become part of the solution, which is good as both sides need more people for that to happen.

  • mgbode

    I’m not sure I’d go that far about Speight, but Harbaugh certainly gets the most out of every QB he coaches.

  • WFNY_DP

    Statistically… he had the third highest QB rating in the conference, fifth in yards per game.

    (Obviously, this ignores Barrett’s impact on the ground. I’m talking only as a passer, of course.)

  • Garry_Owen
  • Saggy

    Walk softly and carry a big pig.

  • Saggy

    and NOW where are all the haters?? haha – great move, Brownies!!

  • RGB

    Prior to the season the UM fanbase was completely on the “if he’s our starter we’re screwed” train.

  • Steve

    “a top-3 B!G QB in two seasons.”

    I think this says a lot more about QB play in the league than Harbaugh or Speight.

  • NankirPhelge

    It’s not enough for you, fine. It’s enough for me.

    The whole point is that people have different opinions. If it doesn’t feel disrespectful to you, that’s fine. It does feel disrespectful to me, and I would hope you think that’s fine too.

  • mgbode

    I would say the point of protest is to draw attention. Annoying people is one way that can be done. The fine line to navigate is how to draw enough attention w/o completely turning off the people you want to discuss change. Given “people” there is no perfect way. As I’ve said, I don’t mind how Kaep went about things as it wasn’t just “on the field” with the kneel. He put actions behind his protest.

  • NankirPhelge

    This conversation has gone off the rails. Nobody has to agree with me and I don’t give a damn whether or not they do.

    Kaepernick could have gone on a hunger strike. That’s dramatic. That would get attention. But that would mean he would have a price to pay.

    I’m done with this.

  • mgbode

    Who are we to decide what is and isn’t appropriate or not appropriate?

    We are people. Everyone has opinions and different lines in the sand of where their POV will take them. One of the reasons for these threads is so we can better understand others thoughts and maybe see things from their POV just a little even if we disagree completely.

  • mgbode

    Hey man, we are all good here. I don’t think anyone is over-stepping. DP seems genuinely curious. That’s a good thing if we are to understand each other. See my comment below, everyone has different POV on these things (as you have noted too).

  • nj0

    Jim Browns says yes.

  • Garry_Owen

    It honestly was a great move. The site that alerted me to it actually acknowledged that they were very critical of the Browns for the draft pick but now give them credit for an astute move.

  • NankirPhelge

    I don’t like what he did. That’s all I ever said. I’m not the arbiter of what is and what isn’t a proper protest. I have no say in anything. I’m not telling people who disagree with me that I don’t like the way they think. My opinion does not affect Kaepernick in any way.

    All I said is that I don’t like it. Somebody else does like it, fine.

  • Garry_Owen

    Well, all joking aside, this is one of the foundational principles of our republic, and this reflects a freedom not known in many other countries in the world – even the most liberal.

  • RGB
  • Garry_Owen

    Point taken. I will say, however, that there are enough factual differences between the circumstances of these two men as to make the instances quite discernible.

  • mgbode

    absolutely

  • Saggy

    “Astute” and “Browns” in the same sentence. Look at that.

  • RGB

    That’s in Revelations somewhere, isn’t it?

  • BenRM

    I completely agree. I also like jokes.

  • Steve

    I don’t disagree, but its just that the world doesnt work so cleanly. In an ideal scenario, people speak up about things that need changed, and the powers that be go “oh yeah, of course”. In reality, people widely ignore things that don’t interrupt their daily happenings.

    Absolutely its a fine line to walk as to how many people you can annoy, and then obviously not harass.

  • mgbode

    Yep, I don’t think we disagree at all here.

  • nj0

    You’re too kind. I’m not even sure what my point was.

  • Steve

    You do see what you’re being pressed on though and how you are completely refusing to address it, right? Frankly, its kind of insulting to hear you say a discussion has gone off the rails when you’ve been merely asked to explain and defend your position.

    This is why protests need to annoy, because it provokes a response. And when we see that the response has little to no reason behind it, its much easier to see why the protest is in the right.

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  • WFNY_DP

    True, but RGB is correct that there were a LOT of UM fans wondering if QB would be the entire death of the season (turns out it was the damned OL, but whatevs).

  • WFNY_DP

    And, FTR, I’m not saying NP is “wrong”. I just want to understand *what* specifically he/she finds disrespectful about Kaep’s protest. I never once said I 100% agree with Kaep. I just feel like he has the right to protest in a way he sees fit, especially when it’s not physically harming anyone else or depriving anyone else of their rights.

    I’m not putting this on NP specifically, but I got so tired of hearing “It’s fine if he protests on behalf of BLM. Just not like that.” Well, when is it OK, then? To say otherwise is to (even unintentionally) pre-marginalize his message. It’s like when politicians have “protest zones” at events. “You can protest. You just have to do it on my terms.”

  • Eric G

    I thought he turned down an offer. Maybe I just heard wrong

  • mgbode

    no one has been reported as to having offered him a contract. there were reports he wanted to compete for a starting spot & $8-10m, but those are now somewhat pinpointed to be his discussions about re-doing his SF contract and not on the open market.

  • mgbode

    from this discussion, it appears that Nankir considers the anthem to be a sacred time and a red line on taking away from that time to honor the country to be used for other means.

  • Eric G
  • Eric G

    Fair enough.

  • Steve

    Sure, he wasn’t a death knell, but there’s a lot of room between death knell and good QB. I won’t deny that what Harbaugh did with him was impressive, but that the third best QB in the B1G has a non-zero chance of losing his job says a lot about the state of the league.

  • WFNY_DP