NFL players have been increasingly speaking out about the fact that they believe Colin Kaepernick should have a home for this 2017 season, and you can add Carolina Panthers’ superstar Cam Newton to that list.
Questions from the media will very quickly turn into questions about real, live, official NFL football that counts in the win-loss column, but Kaepernick’s elongated free agency period is a topic that likely won’t go away anytime soon.
Kaepernick’s protest, and now the NFL’s reaction to it — which many believe is in the form of non-action towards him as a free agent quarterback — is bigger than a football issue. It’s an issue that has grabbed the United States by storm. It’s social, political and yes, even racial in nature.
Years from now, books will be written about Kaepernick, his protest, and the NFL’s reaction to it, both in a negative and positive light. So yes, this has been, is, and will continue to be a huge deal.
Newton’s thoughts would have been welcome on this matter, either way, especially considering the fact that he’s a former league MVP, but Carolina is playing the 49ers this week, Kaepernick’s old squad.
Here’s what Newton said when asked to comment on Kaepernick and his situation with the NFL.
“I really think it’s unfair. I think it’s unfair. Not to take any storm or glory away from the game, we’re trying to find every way to be prepared for the 49ers come Sunday. But in my opinion, do I think Kaepernick is better than some of these starting quarterbacks in this league? Absolutely.
Should he be on a roster? In my opinion, absolutely, there’s no question about it.
Is he good enough to be on a roster? Is he good enough to be a starting quarterback? Absolutely.
But our main focus right now is trying to beat the 49ers.”
The interesting part about Newton’s comments is he actually thinks Kaepernick is better than some of the starting quarterbacks currently in the NFL. That’s a point that has been made with the Jets and Jaguars, per se, but it sounds like Newton still has a ton of faith in Kaepernick as a quarterback.
That’s notable because the main criticism against Kaepernick outside of his protest is that his play has fallen off ever since he led the 49ers to the Super Bowl. And sure, in a noticeable way it has, but Newton was very clear in saying that he believes Kaepernick is capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL.
So why isn’t he even a backup?
That’s the question that has to be asked, no matter where you side in this discussion.