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 []