Welcome to your fucked republic.

By Andrew J. Pridgen

Donald Trump apparently doesn’t like quarterbacks who exercise their First Amendment rights. No, wait, scratch that. He doesn’t like black quarterbacks who exercise their First Amendment rights. Whatever Tom Brady says or does, that’s cool.

Free-agent NFL QB Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee during the National Anthem before 49ers games last fall to protest oppression of people of color, bore the brunt of Trump’s Nuremberg-style rally ire Monday.

Because, when you’re the sitting president and the subject of the first-ever investigation that alleges you and your campaign were directly working with a foreign adversary AND faced the debunking of your claims that your predecessor was wiretapping …AND then you lied on Twitter about the nature of that investigation which led to that tweet being debunked, live, DURING the investigation …you then go on the fucking offensive and take credit for a guy who runs and throws a football’s current unemployment.

Because that’s what presidents do. Right?

…They subvert democracy, perhaps handing it to the highest bidder or the Russian oligarchs they’re beholden to. They lie about the nature of the investigation into such doings. And then they distract, making the real issue about someone, an actor, a singer, an athlete, who was actually doing what a patriot does, and exercising his blessed right to non-violent protest.

In front of his ravenous all-you-can-eat-bullshit-buffet crowd Monday night in Louisville, Kentucky, Trump said he was reading an article (lie) about NFL owners’ fears about signing Kaepernick. His comment, “They don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that?”

No. Nobody fucking believes that.

For what it’s worth, despite what former coach Jim Harbaugh feels, Kaepernick is not exactly a hot ticket on the free-agent market. Last year, he started 11 games for the Niners throwing four interceptions and 16 touchdowns and ending up with a 55.2 quarterback rating, ranking 23rd among the league’s top 30 starters. (Hey, at least he was better than Eli Manning.)

More problematically, Kaepernick is not a five-step-drop pro-style set offense prototype quarterback. The homogeneous NFL now favors play callers who run one of three offensive packages: 11 personnel (one back, one tight end and three receivers), 12 personnel (one back, two tight ends and two receivers) and 21 personnel (two backs, one tight end and two receivers). Note: The offensive schemes are numbered according to those two digits, the first number is the number of running backs, and the second is the number of tight ends.

The San Francisco 49ers with Kaepernick under center last season went with a 22 personnel set (one receiver) on more than a quarter of their plays from scrimmage which was by far the most in the league. That offensive set up is most similar to the Pistol offense developed by Chris Ault that Kaepernick found success using during his college days at Nevada and early NFL seasons under Harbaugh. A hybrid version also yielded shitty results last year as San Francisco ranked 31st in the league in total offense. The only team that fared worse was the LA Rams with rookie Jared Goff taking the majority of the relocated franchise’s snaps.

The 49ers will shift to a more commonly deployed offense under new head coach Kyle Shanahan, whose claim to fame is lifting Matt Ryan to become the game’s highest-rated quarterback during his tenure as offensive coordinator at Atlanta.

Most teams would take a flier on a free agent QB who is still relatively young and mobile with four postseason wins and a Super Bowl appearance, but not if they have to rejigger their entire offense around him which is the real reason — not Donald Trump and not a pre-game protest — that Keap is still floating his resume and updating his LinkedIn.

Initially, when the kneeling controversy first surrounded Kaepernick last September, then-candidate Trump said, “I think it’s a terrible thing. And, you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try. It won’t happen,” during a radio interview.

At that point Kaepernick responded by saying Trump is “openly racist.”

Although Kaepernick was unable to find his way to the voting booth last November, surely an inaction he would take back now, Trump is the one who continues to use the only tools he has left in his belt, distraction, untruths and personal attacks, to attempt to take the nation’s focus off an investigation into his own nefarious and possibly treasonous acts.

Image: Getty Images (Note the most attentive-looking guys in the photo seem to be the ones on one knee.)

Andrew J. Pridgen is the author of “Burgundy Upholstery Sky”.

 

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