Mike Freeman's 10-Point Stance: Kaepernick Anger Intense in NFL Front Offices

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterAugust 31, 2016

FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2015, file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick stands on the field during an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Santa Clara, Calif. Trent Baalke is not ruling out the possibility of still striking a trade for Kaepernick, though San Francisco's general manager is adamant he still hopes to see the quarterback working in new 49ers coach Chip Kelly's system. While Baalke has been in touch with Kaepernick, he said Wednesday, April 20, they haven't spoken in person despite both being at team headquarters. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

If you thought fans on Twitter were upset about Colin Kaepernick, you should talk to some people around the NFL.


1. 'I Can't Stand Him'

Across NFL front offices, there are team officials who are not offended, and even embrace, the controversial position of Colin Kaepernick. They are out there. Statistically, they have to be. But they are keeping a low profile.

They seem to be far outnumbered by the members of NFL front offices who despise him. Truly, truly hate him. 

"I don't want him anywhere near my team," one front office executive said. "He's a traitor."

A traitor?

He wasn't alone in the anger directed toward Kaepernick. In interviews with seven team executives, each said he didn't want Kaepernick on his team. This is far from scientific, but I believe this is likely the feeling among many front office executives. Not all. But many.

All seven estimated 90 to 95 percent of NFL front offices felt the same way they did. One executive said he hasn't seen this much collective dislike among front office members regarding a player since Rae Carruth. Remember Rae Carruth? He's still in prison for the plot to murder his pregnant girlfriend.

Personally, I think the dislike of Kaepernick is inappropriate and un-American. I find it ironic that citizens who live in a country whose existence is based on dissent criticize someone who expresses dissent.

But in NFL front offices, the feeling is very different.

"He has no respect for our country," one team executive said. "F--k that guy."

Another said that if an owner asked him to sign Kaepernick, he would consider resigning, rather than do it.

There could be some executives who have no issue with Kaepernick, but I doubt there are many. Each executive said he believes Kaepernick will likely get released by the 49ersand never play in the NFL again.

Jennifer Lee Chan @jenniferleechan

This team formation for the National Anthem is not Jeff Fisher approved. #HardKnocks https://t.co/SqHHdw0aoj

That is one of the main themes here. Like these executives, I feel we won't ever see Kaepernick play for another NFL team. There is precedent for this. Chris Kluwe, a former Vikings punter, said on CNN this week he believes he was banned from the NFL for expressing his views on gay rights.

When challenged that Kaepernick didn't break a law, or an NFL rule, and that it's his right to sit during the anthem, the response, consistently, was that it's also a team's right to not sign him. And to also dislike him.

Why? It seems the executives feel this way because they believe Kaepernick to be un-American. They also don't believe he appreciates what he has. Many of them pointed to Kaepernick's salary and said he would never make that kind of money if not for football.

"In my career, I have never seen a guy so hated by front office guys as Kaepernick," one general manager said.

This is a league that has signed domestic abusers, accused murderers, players who killed another person while driving drunk and dudes who park in handicap spaces. But Kaepernick is the most hated person he's ever seen? A nonviolent protest? Really?

Yes, apparently, really.


2. Kaepernick's Days in S.F. May Be Numbered

One last thing on Kaepernick from these team officials: They think it's only a matter of time before the 49ers release him because of external pressure. Not because Kaepernick isn't close to the player he was, but because, to the 49ers, he's become radioactive.

Their belief is that the team will wait a bit, maybe a week, for the controversy to quiet (a bit—it's only going to quiet so much in a week) and then release him.

I've heard from people close to Kaepernick that he fully expected to be released by the 49ers once everyone became aware of his actions, and he also knew his football career would be in jeopardy. I've also been told Kaepernick would then dedicate his life to one of social activism.


3. All Quiet Across NFL Locker Rooms

This is anecdotal, but several players tell B/R NFL locker rooms are handling this issue differently. Some players are having calm, rational discussions about it. Others, I'm told, are mostly avoiding the topic entirely, so there are no fights, or arguments, really. And no arguments that could lead to literal fights.


4. Is It Time for Romo to Quit?

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 25:  Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys leaves the field after being injured in the first quarter during a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on August 25, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Got an interesting view of Tony Romo, who Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News reported will be out 6-10 weeks with another back injury, from one starting defensive player in the AFC: "The guy is obviously a warrior and a fighter. I really respect him. But I'm worried he's going to be one of these guys chronically injured for the rest of his life. I seriously think he should consider retiring. I hate saying that, but from afar, I really worry about what football is doing to his body."


5. Steve Spurrier Reflects, At Last, on his Days in D.C.

ASHBURN, :  Washington Redskins' owner Daniel Snyder (L) and new Redskins' Head Coach Steve Spurrier pose for photographers 15 January 2002 during a press conference at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Virginia. Spurrier is now the highest paid coach in the NFL.
SHAWN THEW/Getty Images

One of the most fascinating chapters in recent NFL history was when Steve Spurrier left college football to coach Washington. At the time, it was considered a groundbreaking moment in the franchise's history, because Spurrier was seen then as a genius coach. He was supposed to turn the franchise around.

Instead, it was a disaster. Spurrier went 12-20 over the course of the 2002-03 seasons. He hasn't spoken much about those days since, and owner Dan Snyder barely has. But recently, Spurrier revealed to the New York Times he didn't know when he took the job that Snyder was going to be the team's general manager. And it sounds like if Spurrier had known, he wouldn't have taken the Washington job.

"I think [Snyder's] doing it the right way now," Spurrier told the Times. "When I was coaching, he was the general manager and the personnel director. I thought he was going to hire someone else as general manager."

Spurrier thought it was going to be Bobby Beathard, the legendary general manager who oversaw the franchise's front office between 1978-88, a period that saw the team reach three Super Bowls.

"I thought he was going to be my general manager," Spurrier said. "That didn't work out. After two years, I learned the NFL was not for me. I'm more a college-style of coach. It maybe helped me learn that."


6. Washington's Woes Easy to Pinpoint

If you want to know one of the biggest reasons Washington spent so many years struggling to win, this note from Daniel Shiferaw, a writer and digital producer for CSNMidAtlantic.com, explains a great deal.

Daniel Shiferaw @dshif

The Redskins drafted 34 players from 2010-2013. Only seven of them are on the 2016 roster. https://t.co/crfyHpXerF

That's fairly putrid. You need not look much further for why Washington often has struggled to make the playoffs. Not, as Snyder always believed, the coaches.

Better drafts have yielded better results of late. That's usually how it works.


7. Meanwhile, in Dallas...

Interesting fact from former Cowboys quarterback and current analyst Babe Laufenberg about Dallas' latest quarterback issues:

Babe Laufenberg @BabeLaufenberg

Dak Prescott will be the 20th different QB since 1999 to start for the Cowboys. Only Cleveland (25 W/ RG3) have started more.


8. Peyton Manning's Got Jokes

Just going to leave this one right here. Tom Brady won't be mad. He has a good sense of humor:

Comedy Central @ComedyCentral

Retirement hasn't taken the fight out of Peyton Manning. #LoweRoast https://t.co/0kiKBQmnb2

I can't say the same for some of Brady's teammates.


9. Tom Brady Has a Lot of Rules to Follow

While on suspension, there are things Tom Brady isn't allowed to do, as Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal detailed. The list is spectacular.

Brady cannot do any of the following:

• Attend or watch practice.

• Appear at the team facility for any reason.

• Have contact with any team personnel. No exchange of playbooks or the like.

• Have football-related discussions with teammates, even if away from facility.

• Go to stadium as a spectator.

• Travel with team on road games.

• Attend press conferences.

In other words, there is nothing Brady can do with his team while on suspension, except ask about the weather.


10. Rodney Harrison Said Something Really, Really, Really, Stupid

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 31:  NBC studio analyst Rodney Harrison looks on during the Super Bowl XLVI Broadcasters Press Conference at the Super Bowl XLVI Media Canter in the J.W. Marriott Indianapolis on January 31, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Phot
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

One last thing on Kaepernick. Promise.

NBC analyst and former 15-year NFL veteran Rodney Harrison expressed one of the most insulting, idiotic and inaccurate things anyone has said during this entire Kaepernick drama...and that's saying something.

Harrison said Kaepernick isn't really black.

"I tell you this: I'm a black man," Harrison told SportsTalk 790 in Houston. "And Colin Kaepernick—he's not black. He cannot understand what I face and what other young black men and black people face, or people of color face, on a every single [day] basis. When you walk in a grocery store—and you might have $2,000 or $3,000 in your pocket—and you go up in to a Foot Locker and they're looking at you like you about to steal something. You know, I don't think he faces those type of things that we face on a daily basis."

Not sure where to begin with this. I'll focus on one aspect.

I'm not certain when Harrison became the arbiter of what is or isn't black. Not sure how I missed that vote.

Kaepernick is biracial and was raised by white adoptive parents. He had a loving, kind family that taught him both how to be a good human being and to be aware of his culture. Harrison doesn't get to define who Kaepernick is, or how black he is, which is an insulting concept to begin with.

Harrison later apologized. That was smart.


Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @mikefreemanNFL.