How’s this for a pressurized performance?
It’s not often — in fact, it’s probably unprecedented — that a professional sports league agrees to hold a job fair for a single prospective signee.
But Saturday, the National Football League is conducting a workout for an out-of-work quarterback, and it’s invited each of its 32 teams to send a representative, evaluate the quarterback’s talent and possibly sign him to a team roster.
This odd circumstance makes more sense when the quarterback is identified. It’s Colin Kaepernick, the onetime Super Bowl starter whose talents were declining before he started taking public positions on controversial public issues.
Kaepernick, a skilled runner and average passer, hasn’t played professionally since 2016. That could be the result of the league blackballing him for his controversial statements, a diminution of skills or some combination of the two. (Kaepernick sued the NFL on the basis of the blackballing charge and negotiated an out-of-court settlement.)
One thing is for sure. The supply of good quarterbacks is not so vast that teams are willing to ignore veteran signal callers who can still play at a high level.
In professional sports, for good or ill, winning is all that matters. Players who produce are highly sought after, no matter how high or low their character.
If Kaepernick is perceived as a quarterback who can lead his team to victories, he’ll be picked up. In fact, he probably already would have been picked up because a number of NFL teams invited him to tryouts in the past.
Multiple teams need quarterbacks. But sports writer Victor Mather hit the nail on the head when he asked, “Will any team really want to anger some percentage of its fan base and deal with news media headaches for an aging quarterback to stand on the sidelines?”
Probably not. Kaepernick better be ready to put on an impressive show for his audience.