Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still looking for a job this offseason, and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday that he believes Kaepernick will return to a starting role at some point in the 2017 season. Harbaugh also scoffed at the notion that Kaepernick is being blackballed by teams due to his polarizing national anthem protest.
On Wednesday's episode of Undisputed, Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe reacted to Harbaugh's comments.
John Harbaugh: Kaepernick is going to start somewhere next year
“I would never use a generic, stupid term like that to describe a more complicated type of a situation. I’m just generally speaking, I just think it’s too easy, it’s intellectually lazy. To me, I think it’s more nuanced, you know?
I think, yeah, I absolutely think he’s going to get signed. I think he’ll probably be starting somewhere next year at some point in time during the season. And I agree with Jim, I think he’ll be winning games for people. And because he can win games for people, I think he’s going to be playing for somebody."
Charles LeClaireCharles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Roger Goodell: I have not heard that this is an issue
Coaches and owners are all about protecting the shield
“This is what I know. I played 14 years in the National Football League, and I’ve been covering the National Football League since 2004 once I retired.So I’ve been, one way or another, watching as a fan, playing or covering this league for over 35 years.
Coaches and owners will always protect that NFL logo.They always will. No matter how coaches feel about one another, no matter how owners feel about one another - when it comes time for protecting and making sure everything looks great on the inside, from the outside appearance, they will protect that.”
Joe CamporealeJoe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Harbaugh should be concerned solely for his own team
“It is stupid, and I think it is lazy, but it also is intellectually lazy for John Harbaugh [to speak on behalf of other teams].
Skip, when I played, the coaches told me - every coach i played for - said ‘look, worry about what we’re doing in Denver.’ ‘Worry about what we’re doing in Baltimore.
The coaches always said ‘I don’t care what they’re doing over there. I worry about us.’
So now John Harbaugh is a coach for the Baltimore Ravens, and he has a great idea of what the other 31 teams are doing. How does he know?
I’m not saying he’s getting blackballed. I’m not saying, for whatever reason, he hasn’t picked a team yet. Or a team hasn’t reached out to Colin and said ‘we think you can help us.’
I’ve been hearing a lot of what John Harbaugh said at the end. I lot of people I’ve talked to believe that Colin will get a call, and there’s a great chance that he’ll be starting somewhere this year.”
My message for Joe Thomas
“Now let’s go to something that we didn’t show. Joe Thomas went on Uninterrupted and he addressed Skip and I directly.
Skip, I’m about to do something I haven’t done since I retired and I’ve gotten into television. I’m going to address a current player as a former player. Because I never wanted for me to be a topic, I don’t want ‘Hall of Famer lashes out at Joe Thomas,’ that’s not what this is about. And after today, I’m going to be done with this conversation publicly with Joe Thomas.
He said, on his Twitter, that he loves engaging his fans, and so do I. And he said he views a distraction as any time players have to address something about a [teammate] that’s not football related. He views Colin Kaepernick as a distraction, and my point to him was… Josh Gordon came to his team. Josh Gordon was at Baylor University, he got suspended from Baylor because he flunked so many drug tests. He transferred to Utah, he couldn’t step on the field because he couldn’t pass a drug test. So he came into the league, quote unquote as Joe says, as a ‘distraction.’
Now, when you come to the National Football League, Skip, you get a clean slate. What happened in your past, for the most part, stays back there. Within the first year, he had flunked three drug tests, he had to miss the first two games the following season. Five suspensions [in total]. Joe Thomas and the Cleveland Browns’ organization never said Josh Gordon was a distraction.”
Why is Colin Kaepernick viewed as more of a negative than drug users?
“They’re labeling him as a ‘distraction’ as a negative term. See, that’s the problem that I have. You’re labeling [Kaepernick] as a negative.
He didn’t miss any games. Josh Gordon missed games, caused you to lose games, probably. Johnny Manziel missed games, probably caused you to lose games. That’s a distraction.”
Steve MitchellSteve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
You have to evaluate the opinion of Kaepernick on a team-by-team basis
“I’m trying to process the idea of ‘blackballed.’ That means, or suggests, that 32 owners colluded, and they all agreed ‘nobody is going to sign Colin Kaepernick,’ and that would have to be because of his anthem protests and the stance he has repeatedly taken. Let’s be clear about what that means, what ‘blackballed’ would mean.
Do I think there’s that operating individually from team to team, ownership to ownership? Yes, I do. I’m with John Harbaugh when he says it’s more complex than that, more nuanced than that. You have to sort of go team-by-team, owner-by-owner. Who was offended by the anthem protest, who wasn’t? Which GM was offended? So it starts to get more and more complex and complicated.”
Steve MitchellSteve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Kaepernick may be too smart for some owners to feel comfortable
“Colin Kaepernick has too much mental capacity for a lot of owners because he’s a threat. Because he’s a really bright man, who can be eloquent when he speaks of black history and how to apply it to the current black plight in America.