Amending a previous stance on the controversial issue, where he suggested in June that Kaepernick’s national anthem protests were merely a “minor” reason for his lengthy free-agent stint, the Seattle Seahawks wide receiver recently called out the NFL and its team owners.
“My original position was I thought that the situation last year with him taking a knee didn’t have anything to do with it,” Baldwin told Shiel Kapadia of ESPN. “After viewing what’s going on, I’ve got to take that back. I definitely think that the league, the owners are trying to send a message of, ‘Stay in between the lines.’ It’s frustrating because you want to have guys who are willing to speak out about things that they believe in, whether you agree with it or not. But I think that’s definitely playing a role now more so than I thought it was going to.”
Baldwin’s Seahawks are the only team to have brought Kaepernick in for a visit during the several months since he opted out of his contract with the division-rival San Francisco 49ers. The apparent interest seemingly indicated a strong possibility that he’d be brought in as the backup to Russell Wilson, thus solving a clear position of need looking ahead to 2017.
Seattle would opt against making the move, though, instead picking up journeyman quarterback Austin Davis.
“If you take a step back and you look at the overall picture, there’s a lot of teams in this league that could use a quarterback of Colin Kaepernick’s ability,” Baldwin said. “And why he doesn’t have a job, it’s very telling to me. He’s a very capable player. There’s a lot of teams out there that need quarterbacks – whether they’re a starting quarterback or a backup-caliber quarterback. The fact that he hasn’t been brought into camp yet is questionable.”
Kaepernick was one of the few bright spots for an otherwise anemic San Francisco offense last year. After working his way back from a series of offseason surgeries, he’d go on to throw for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns, and a mere four interceptions across 11 starts.
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