What Happens If Colin Kaepernick’s Played His Last NFL Game?

    Its mid-August, and little boys all over the country are outside in the heat doing calisthenics, learning various drills and running laps in hopes of making their Pop Warner football teams starting lineup for the upcoming games in a week or two. They are slurping down sports drinks in between taking hits on the field, and their parents are dusting off their lawn chairs and polishing up their cowbells while getting ready to root from the sidelines.

    In the years to come, some of these athletic gems will graduate from little league to middle school teams. Some will plateau in growth and walk away at this point in the sport, while others will be recruited by high school programs. At the end of their treacherous work on and off the field, a select few will be rewarded with a college scholarship and coaches that promise to make men out of them.  

    A few years later, the best of the best will get drafted into the NFL. Their families, friends and fans will be happy. No scratch that. They will be ecstatic! The guy they rooted for, sat in inclement weather for, showed an unwavering amount of love and support for will now reach the ultimate destination for a football phenom and they will take many of their loved ones with them via a metaphorical ride on their shoulders. 

    Whole cities and towns nationwide, not just their college fan base, will now know this kids name. And he will be both celebrated and treated like a hero. And why not? This was a goal that he and his people have been working towards since he was in elementary school. This is a great thing right?

    Well, Colin Kaepernick did all of that preparation too. He started off as a little bitty guy on the defensive line and reportedly found himself in the quarterback spot by the age of 9. He was dedicated to athletics and used his focus to become one of the top signal callers in the country during his remarkable career at The University of Nevada. 

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    In 2012, after being selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2011 NFL Drfat, Kaepernick was leading the franchise into the Super Bowl. In the ensuing year, they advanced to the NFC Championship game.

    But one must wonder if through all of those years of preparation and dedication, did he ever see his current fate coming into play? For every lap run in pain, or for every Friday night party he missed, did it ever occur to him that he would one day sacrifice much more than a conversation with the pretty girl from chemistry class whom had hoped to hang out with him at a weekend shindig? 

    What happens if all of his energy and effort on the field was for not? There is a petition making the rounds on the internet asking people to boycott this NFL season if Colin doesnt get signed by a team soon. 

    But what will happen if he never gets signed? Will taking a stand while taking a knee really derail this young man from a career that he spent decades working towards? Are fans really willing to walk away from the National Football League forever if he never finds employment with another team?

    Football is a vicious sport. Kaepernick will reach his 30th birthday this year. How much time can he afford to sit out before it becomes a disadvantage to him physically? 

    Does the world owe him more than a sincere debt of gratitude because he worked his entire life to be in the position he was in, and then one action that was spurred by his consciousness seemed to take it all away? 

    Did he hurt anyone? Did he cheat anyone? The obvious answer is no. But had he done those things alone and not taken a knee, he’d still have a coveted NFL job today.

    What he did was ask for nonviolence through a quiet, calm and thoughtful protest. He didnt ask anyone else to even join him. He just wanted to show solidarity with people who were asking not to be killed like dogs in the street, and it may very well have cost him the thing that he worked hardest for through his entire young life. 

    What happens if he never gets picked up? Will people remember his bravery later on? Will he be revered for sticking to his principles or will he be forgotten and sent off to obscurity to do Dancing With The Stars? 

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    Might young Colin one day seek public office? Could he transition to TV to commentate on others in the NFL who still get to put the uniform on every week? We just dont know. 

    Among other questions that we must begin asking ourselves is how will we support him if they dont let him get back on the field. And what will history books say about the tremendous sacrifice this man has made in order to bring attention to this cause? 

    How can he be repaid for his suffering? It seems logical to think Kaepernick knew that people would be angry at his actions. But did he think that it would cost him his livelihood, one that he worked so hard for over the years? 

    He paid the price for others. So, how can he possibly be payed back if the ultimate cost to his dream career was too high? The world may never know.