Critics once said Kaepernick’s kneeling was a disrespectful distraction. Tebow has been celebrated for it.
Written By Bruce C.T. Wright
Source: Getty Images / Getty
The expected signing of a white former NFL player who hasn’t played pro football in nearly a decade and was widely regarded as a failure during his time in the league has renewed outrage sparked over the apparent refusal to give Colin Kaepernick a second chance on the gridiron.
Tim Tebow, who hasn’t competed in an NFL regular-season game since the 2012 season — four years longer than when Kaepernick last played — was reportedly going to sign a one-year contract with his hometown Jacksonville Jaguars to play tight end, a position he has never played before on any level of competition.
That report stood in stark contrast to the deafening silence surrounding Kaepernick and his return to the league, which is likely to never happen for political and not athletic reasons.
Waiting for Colin Kaepernick to sign with the #Jaguars as a tight end too….. Wait, no?— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) May 11, 2021
One critic referred to the entire scenario as “white privilege NFL style.”
Tim Tebow finding a team and Colin Kaepernick can’t.— steven pasquale (@StevePasquale) May 10, 2021
White privilege NFL style.
Tebow can’t throw, never could, never played TE, and hasn’t played in ..what …8 years?
Explain it to me like I’m 5.
Bossip brought attention NFL veteran Dez Bryant’s reaction os disbelief upon learning that Tebow could sign a new contract. Bryant, who is currently a free agent, “understands how hard it is to get on a team and stay on a team,” even with talent, Bossip wrote.
So Tebow haven’t played an NFL game in damn near a decade and it’s that simple…no hate but you got to be kidding me— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) May 11, 2021
Stats be damned — the Heisman-winning quarterback whose success in college translated to him playing in a total of 35 regular-season games and one playoff game over the course of three seasons — Tebow is an icon in pop culture, notably because of his expressed Christian faith.
There is no scenario in which Tim Tebow provides more use on the football field than Colin Kaepernick— Grant Liffmann (@GrantLiffmann) May 10, 2021
Mainstream media has long fawned over his physical features and celebrated him regardless of his professional failures, like the NFL and a brief, unsuccessful stint playing minor league baseball. Tebow has been rewarded for these failures time and time again, including starring in TV ads, a book deal to write his autobiography, being the subject of multiple documentaries, getting lucrative endorsement deals, appearing on a reality TV contest show and becoming a college football analyst for ESPN.
The fact that religious chauvinist, Tim Tebow, gets another shot at the NFL before Colin Kaepernick does proves once and for all it's not about talent and never was.— Ron Placone (@RonPlacone) May 10, 2021
The Jacksonville Jaguars are likely betting on some of Tebow’s mass appeal to rub off on their fanbase and help stimulate sales of tickets, merchandise and probably much more.
Interesting how the same people that are praising Tim Tebow for his values outside of football, see Colin Kaepernick's values as a distraction. pic.twitter.com/aqbDpZZXci— Ahmed Ali (@MrAhmednurAli) May 10, 2021
Never mind that Kaepernick once led his team to the Superbowl while Tebow has played in just one playoff game.
Remember, Colin Kaepernick isn’t in the NFL because…— Joe Praino (@FixYourLife) May 10, 2021
– “he was a terrible QB”
– “he brings a media circus everywhere”
– “he hasn’t played in years”
– “kneeling is disrespectful” pic.twitter.com/12vwtUlTIz
The most notable contrast, though, between Tebow and Kaepernick their demonstrative kneeling. Tebow was celebrated for his kneeling, which became a cultural trend known as “Tebowing” as people mimicked the quarterback’s moment of prayer.
Tebow – Hasn't played in the NFL since 2012. Gets another shot.— BLACK ADAM SCHEFTER (@B1ackSchefter) May 10, 2021
Kaepernick – Hasn't played since 2016. Gets nothing.
What's the difference? Can't seem to put my finger on it… pic.twitter.com/F9BF5CdqKX
But when Kaepernick kneeled as a way to bring attention to the scourge of police violence against Black and brown people, he was sidelined as a player before being banished from the league as franchises colluded to keep him out of the NFL. There was no “Kaepernicking,” only the admonishment from the NFL against his silent protest for social justice.
There’s no way you can tell me that Tim Tebow deserves to be on a team as an unproven tight end who hasn’t played in 9 years more than Colin Kaepernick. There’s just no way that’s gonna make sense.— David Dennis Jr. (@DavidDTSS) May 10, 2021
It is in that context that Tebow could sign yet another NFL contract.
If Tim Tebow is getting a contract, there are literally no more excuses to why Colin Kaepernick hasn’t played since 2017. None at all.— Jarrett Bailey (@JBaileyNFL) May 10, 2021
Just at year, reacting to a statement the NFL released after the murder of George Floyd, pro football stars demanded that league leadership explicitly say, “We the National Football League condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black people. We the National Football League admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We the National Football League believe Black lives matter.”
In America, the Atlanta police officer who shot Rayshard Brooks in the back has more job security than Colin Kaepernick who peacefully protested. pic.twitter.com/WWbEspar8G— Resist Programming 🛰 (@RzstProgramming) May 5, 2021
To date, the NFL maintains that Kaepernick was not blacklisted from the league. Analysts have said Kaepernick is just not good enough to return. But if Kaepernick isn’t good enough, and Kaepernick’s NFL statistics were far superior to Tebow’s — which they were — then why hasn’t Kaepernick also been the subject of a reported return?
It’s a question with an answer that is both elusive and obvious as the nation continues along with its purported racial reckoning.
This is America.