Colin Kaepernick is back. At least in digital form.
The former San Francisco quarterback will be included in Madden 21, and his rating will be higher than some of his counterparts with starting jobs in the NFL.
While EA Sports’ interest in Kap is high, it, unfortunately, hasn’t been matched by league owners.
If the ratings in Madden 21 were accurate, then Colin Kaepernick should not only have a job, but he should be starting. But according to NBC Sports, there is currently “zero interest” in Kaepernick.
Worse, the interest that has been expressed was reportedly ‘fake,’ as NBC Sports outlines:
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, there was some “fake” interest expressed immediately after Floyd’s death, seemingly out of guilt. There has been zero interest expressed as to Kaepernick “in months.”
Something doesn’t add up when you consider that Kaepernick was rated at 81 overall by Madden 21. That’s higher than the Patriots starting quarterback and former MVP, Cam Newton (78). It’s a higher rating than Raiders’ starting quarterback, Derek Carr (79). And it’s higher than the Titans’ likely starting QB, Ryan Tannehill (80).
EA Sports wasn’t shy in addressing their rating:
EA described him as “one of the top free agents in football” and a “starting-caliber quarterback.” Are they correct?
Nobody can question Colin Kaepernick’s value as a social justice activist. His impact has been massive, and he’s inspired other athletes to take a stand. His courage in being one of the first athletes to take impactful action against police brutality cannot be understated. That’s why he gets to do awesome things in Madden 21, like put his fist in the air after he scores a touchdown:
But that doesn’t mean he’s a good quarterback.
He had a great two year run from 2012-2014. But his last two years as a starter, his record was an abysmal 3-16.
You can’t put that all on the quarterback, but his QBR also declined precipitously in that time. In 2017, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert claimed that Kaepernick “succeeded only in an unsustainable scheme.”
Seifert went on to describe Kap’s passing accuracy, aka a quarterback’s ‘most important attribute’:
Since the start of the 2015 season, Kaepernick ranks last in the NFL among 35 qualified passers in off-target percentage (22.6). His completion percentage ranks No. 32 at 59.1.
That was the same year Cam Newton won the MVP award. Since 2015, Newton’s QBR has been higher than Kaepernick’s, so why is he rated below the out-of-work QB?
We need to differentiate on-the-field impact with off-the-field impact. Colin Kaepernick’s “off-the-field” impact is enormous but on the field? He’s not great.
That doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve to be in the NFL. And that doesn’t mean there’s no blacklisting taking place. While I do believe Kaepernick more than qualifies as a solid backup-quarterback, let’s not pretend he’s suddenly the ‘top free agent on the market.’
EA Sports is trying to make a statement, but it’s coming off as disingenuine pandering. Colin Kaepernick could abolish racism altogether, but that doesn’t mean his spiral will get any tighter.
It’s great that EA included him in Madden 21, but they should acknowledge that Colin Kaepernick is a highly significant, mediocre quarterback and stop trying to re-write reality. They’re coming off as equally ‘fake’ the NFL owners feigning interest.