Scott Ostler Nov. 4, 2019 (SFChronicle.com)
A mural depicting embattled NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick is seen on a wall on Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, in Atlanta. Several such murals were hastily painted over the weekend across the Super Bowl host town in protest after one that had stood for two years was abruptly demolished on the eve of the big game. (AP Photo/ Ron Harris)Photo: Ron Harris / Associated Press
The NFL did the world a huge favor when the team owners, general managers and coaches all decided, independently and simultaneously, that Colin Kaepernick is a lousy quarterback.
Lacking a team, Kaepernick has taken his quarterbacking to the streets, to the people. They are his team.
On Sunday — while the NFL games were in progress, including the Raiders’ win over Detroit at the Coliseum — Kaepernick strolled through a homeless tent city in Oakland. He handed out backpacks filled with snacks and personal supplies. He brought in a food truck.
By the way, Sunday was Kaepernick’s 32nd birthday. A Scorpio. I looked it up: passionate, independent, and unafraid to blaze their own trails no matter what others think.
Kaepernick’s visit to Oakland got zero media attention. Once again, he forgot to alert the TV and newspaper people to a great photo op. Blew a chance to grow his brand. TMZ got and posted some amateur video of Kaepernick hanging with the people. Other than that, he flew way under the radar.
He does not media-ize his Know Your Rights camps for inner-city kids, nor his contributions to numerous grass-roots organizations. This is very confusing to the haters who say Kaepernick’s kneel-down protests were all about calling attention to himself.
Even if — perish the thought! — Kaepernick were to get another job in the NFL, he would continue his charity stuff and social work. But thanks to the NFL, the onetime hero to 49ers fans has become a folk hero to the folk who have few heroes. He is a cheerleader to those who don’t have much to cheer about.
The NFL made Kaepernick an outsider, a have-not, a victim of the powerful system — just like the folks to whom he was handing out reverse birthday presents Sunday.
Except that Kaepernick does have power. He earned it through his football play, expanded it with his sideline protests, and got it boosted when he was branded a leper by the NFL … and an SOB by you-know-who.
Kaepernick is not a martyr. Martyrs get killed. The NFL didn’t murder him, just, you know, decided he was not its cup of tea, for 32 different reasons.
By shooing away Kaepernick, the NFL supersized him.