The San Francisco 49er refused to stand for the national anthem before a pre-season game
Colin Kaepernick's fall from grace in the NFL might be about to reach its conclusion in the coming weeks, according to a number of NFL front office executives.
In 2013, Kapernick came close to bringing his San Francisco team to the Super Bowl title, leading a second half comeback but falling just short against the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans.
He was hailed as one of a new generation of quarterbacks who were dual threats - not only did he have an incredible arm, he was also able to disrupt defences with his running, extending plays and stretching the opposition by keeping the ball alive.
However, he tailed off rather spectacularly after that, and recently hit the headlines after he refused to stand during the national anthem at a pre-season game against the Green Bay Packers.
Speaking afterwards, Kaepernick said: "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Stating that he wouldn't "show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Keapernick added: "I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right."
The 49ers also released a statement on the issue, noting that "in respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem."
Although standing during the anthem is not mandatory, Kaepernick's actions have garnered plenty of interest, both positive and negative. However, it seems that his decision to take a stand may well cost him his job, at least according to a number of NFL front office executives, who believe that once the media attention dies down, he will be quietly released by the team.
Image: Ben Margot / AP/Press Association Images
Speaking to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report, seven executives stated that they wouldn't touch Kaepernick if he is released, and that he will have a tough time finding a new job in the league, if he can at all.
"I don't want him anywhere near my team," said one of the executives interviewed, adding "He's a traitor."
Another general manager of a team stated that "In my career, I have never seen a guy so hated by front office guys as Kaepernick," despite the many players who have had to deal with serious legal issues off the field.
Freeman adds that the widespread belief is that he is now "toxic," but that sources close to the star say "he fully expected to be released by the 49ers once everyone became aware of his actions," and may well be looking at a life after football already.
Social activism may play a large part in that and DeRay Mckesson, a civil rights activist and one of the most prominent figures in the Black Lives Matter movement, has already reached out to the star about his gesture.
I just got off the phone w/ @Kaepernick7. We spoke about the movement & his commitments to justice & equity. It's clear that he gets it.— deray mckesson (@deray) August 31, 2016
Other players who have made a stand on a particular issue in the NFL have had trouble continuing in the league before, most notably Chris Kluwe, who alleged that he had been fired by the Minnesota Vikings as a result of his stance on same-sex marriage.
Kluwe reached an out-of-court settlement with the franchise, who also pledged "continued financial support for human rights" and a plan to raise awareness of LGBT issues in sports.