Colin Kaepernick’s Stolen Spotlight

Colin+Kaepernicks+Stolen+Spotlight

Jake Fitzgerald, Sports Editor

Around the league, Colin Kaepernick has made a name for himself after attending a Superbowl and protesting an idea that has been criticized around the United States. However, the 1-4 49ers needed a spark in the locker room after a rocky start to the season by Blaine Gabbert who struggled in the last two games.

Gabbert ended up throwing three interceptions and only two touchdowns for just over 300 yards, which is why  49ers head coach, Chip Kelly made a change to one of the most influential players on the field: the Quarterback.

Yes, Kaepernick is now starting for the San Francisco 49ers. The man who has been protesting the violent discrimination to minorities by kneeling during the national anthem. His protest is reflecting a different point of view about  the Black Lives Matter movement than NBA players Dwyane Wade and LeBron James have expressed.

Wade and James use their status and popularity to raise awareness of the protest and provide recommendations on how US citizens should respond to the movement itself (Wade also has an excuse for protesting because his brother was shot in Chicago a few days after he signed with Bulls).

In contrast, according to ESPN, Kaepernick has been protesting about “a point of doing something about [racial discrimination]”. He also question when people will “take a stand and as a people say this isn’t right?” To police officers he emphatically stressed, “You have a badge, yes.

You’re supposed to be protecting us, not murdering us, and that’s what the issue really is and we need to change that.” Kaepernick’s  decision is “not something that [he is] going to run by anybody” and he is “not looking for approval to stand up for people that are oppressed.”

Gabbert’s struggles in the last two games convinced Coach Kelly that Kaepernick would give San Francisco the best chance to win, so he made the move.

“We were very analytical. We sat down and watched tape and I just think offensively we need to be better” Kelly said.

While the 49ers struggle with a young roster, coach Kelly has decided to pull out his “Oregon offense.” He coached at Oregon University, with a high powered offense using rushing and passing attacks that wowed college football fans.

Now, with a rushing attack of Kaepernick and Carlos Hyde in San Francisco, Kelly can use the offense that he used with Michael Vick in 2013 with the Philadelphia Eagles.

According to Mike Mayock from NFL Network, he thinks  “for Colin Kaepernick‘s career, [starting is] one of the best things that could have happened for him.” Mayock also added that   “very quarterback-friendly as far as the pass game is concerned. There are a lot of fairly simple reads and [he] think[s] Kaepernick can pick [them] up very quickly

Now, with Kaepernick starting for the 49ers, he will hopefully change back to his prime like in 2013, while keeping the press in San Francisco.

If Kaepernick helps the 49ers improve, he may be able to keep his starting  job without the 49ers drafting a quarterback in next year. In his first start unfortunately, Kaepernick had a brutal game in Buffalo. He completed just 44.8 percent of his passes for 187 yards and only one touchdown.

Competing in the NFC West with teams like the Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams, and Arizona Cardinals -who could all possibly make the playoffs- will challenge Kaepernick even more. With a rough schedule ahead, the 49ers are looking to overcome their slow start and avoid another mediocre season.

It will be interesting to see how the players support Kaepernick in the locker room for the rest of the season and how he will respond to even more criticism as the face of the Golden City.