Trump Says He’s The Reason NFL Teams Aren’t Signing Kaepernick
The President tells supporters that teams are afraid of getting a “nasty tweet” from him
Despite Colin Kaepernick letting prospective teams know he’d stand for the national anthem this upcoming season, he still hasn’t signed with a new club after leaving San Francisco. Is it because teams are worried about the free agent quarterback’s inaccuracy? Or perhaps there’s concern the aging speedster is losing a step? President Donald Trump has his own theory: Teams are afraid of Trump tweeting about them if they sign Kaepernick.
At a rally in Kentucky, Trump, seemingly out of nowhere, started talking about Kaepernick not standing during the “Star Spangled Banner” prior to games. He told the crowd, who were clapping and barking like seals at every utterance, that he’s the reason the player was still out of a job.
I’m just reporting the news. There was an article today—I love to report the news and then they said I made a mistake, right? I said, no, the people reporting the news made a mistake if it’s wrong. But, there was an article today, it was reported, that NFL owners don’t wanna pick him up because they don’t wanna get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that?
I just saw that. I said, “If I remember that one, I’m gonna report it to the people of Kentucky.” Because they like it when people actually stand for the American flag, right?
Now, the fact he’d want to talk about Kaepernick in Kentucky seems a little random, but he didn’t totally make up the idea that teams are wary of signing the quarterback. Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman interviewed NFL executives and last week published that there are a few reasons teams have been reluctant to pick up the former 49er. And one front office insider said clubs worry that the commander in chief will turn his Twitter army against any executive who offers Kaepernick a contract.
"He can still play at a high level," one AFC general manager said. "The problem is three things are happening with him.
"First, some teams genuinely believe that he can't play. They think he's shot. I'd put that number around 20 percent.
"Second, some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or (President Donald) Trump will tweet about the team. I'd say that number is around 10 percent. Then there's another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings.
"Third, the rest genuinely hate him and can't stand what he did (kneeling for the national anthem). They want nothing to do with him. They won't move on. They think showing no interest is a form of punishment. I think some teams also want to use Kaepernick as a cautionary tale to stop other players in the future from doing what he did."
When I spoke to a handful of executives at the combine a few weeks ago, one even called him "an embarrassment to football."
So, yes, it’s true. At least one NFL executive has said they worry about backlash from Trump and his supporters if they sign Kaepernick. However, it still doesn’t excuse Trump from referring to himself in the third person during his rally.