NFL double standards make no sense

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, November 7th, 2018 at 6:07 PM

Chad Kelly, former backup quarterback of the Denver Broncos, was recently arrested for trespassing. This arrest once again stirred up the controversy that centers around Colin Kaepernick. 

The Broncos waived Kelly, something most teams haven’t done in similar cases. When teams don’t waive players that have been arrested, it’s easy to ask why players that have allegedly done horrible things are still playing when Kaepernick isn’t. 

Kelly had a history of arrests and fights with both coaches and people he didn’t know, which is assumed to have played into the decision, but the fact that he was drafted by a team after arrests and issues in college says a lot about the chances he got. 

Another quarterback is currently under the spotlight for being arrested. Kyle Laulette, a player for the New York Giants, was arrested on various traffic-related charges (including eluding police) and how did the Giants respond? By standing behind him (he will apparently not play in the team’s next game though). 

The reason that Kaepernick isn’t playing in the NFL? A bad season and kneeling to drive attention to police brutality. 

For those that want to look at his numbers and say that him not playing in the league doesn’t involve his kneeling, well one of the best quarterbacks of our time, Tom Brady, has said he believes Kaepernick is qualified and “hopes he gets a shot.” Other players have spoken out in support of Kaepernick. 

The Washington Post examined Kaepernick’s 2016 stats compared to the ones of quarterbacks that played in 2017. Ten of those QBs were worse, seven near the same level and 15 were better. Four out of the 10 were rookies or backups, but the fact holds that Kaepernick isn’t playing in a league where he has more skill than some of those who are playing. 

Per ESPN, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL for violating the collective bargaining agreement; he believes owners conspired to keep him off teams. A neutral arbitrator decided in August that there is enough evidence of collusion to go to trial.  

What can the NFL do to help deal with the questions that arise from situations like this? Set a policy for arrests and how to deal with them and make it league wide. Don’t have one team releasing players for being arrested and one continuing to play them. Leaving it up to teams means that one player may be waived like Kelly, though an argument for history can factor into that, and one where a player may be on the field the next week, like Laulette. 

To give the NFL some credit, their arrest rate is lower then the general population. However, it still happens and players end up on the field only days after their arrest. That players accused of criminal conduct are allowed to play, while a man is blackballed for standing up for his beliefs doesn’t seem fair.

Whether Kaepernick will ever step foot on an NFL field again remains unseen, but the fact that teams would rather have lower grade players than him says a lot about who the fans and people in charge are.

Erica Burkholder can be reached at voices.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: opinions, voices

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