One of the sad realities of sports in America is that far too many pampered and spoiled professional athletes are viewed as role models for young people. We marvel at the touchdowns they score, the home runs they knock over the wall, or the half court nothing but net shots made at the buzzer. Young people look up to them and try to emulate their actions on the field, and dream of achieving the fame and celebrity we afford to professional athletes.

Unfortunately their exploits on the field of play don’t always carry over into their personal lives, and often times we find that our sports heroes have feet of clay. Many have seen their careers cut short as a result of using drugs, some have committed despicable acts of domestic abuse against women, and far too many have squandered the millions they made during their careers, ending up with an empty bank account and no prospects. And then there are some who stay around long after they have anything to contribute, allowing their own egos to far exceed their athletic abilities.

While I hate giving him any of the notice that his massive ego craves, take Colin Kaepernick as an example. Kaepernick was released by the NFL team he played for because he simply lacked the talent to continue to be paid an exorbitant salary for such a limited return. And also because he had become a cancer in the locker room and on the field.

Football is a team sport, and coaches try to put the best players on the field. Ones who will help them win games which fills the stadiums. That makes the team owners happy and that’s how the coaches keep their jobs. Kaepernick simply didn’t contribute to that anymore.

This past weekend Kaepernick decided he had been out of the news and public eye for too long and needed some attention to gratify his ego, so he stamped his feet and demanded a ‘personal’, and very public display of his supposed athletic prowess for NFL team owners to admire.

At the last minute Kaepernick decided to change the location, so only a few of the invited teams chose to respond to his chain yank and move to the new site just to watch Kaepernick toss a few footballs. Certainly not in full football pads, and not under any pressure from opposing teams trying to rip his head off. Just a little game of catch. Just another Kaepernick attention grabbing ‘Hey, look at me exercise’ for the news media.

The NFL has already done the unthinkable and paid Kaepernick millions to settle his grievance against the league. Kaepernick claims the NFL colluded against him because of his protesting supposed police brutality by kneeling during America’s National Anthem which traditionally is played before each NFL game, and for which most Americans stand up and place their hands across their heart.

The fact that he just might not be that good of a player certainly can’t be the reason he’s not been playing on Sunday, at least in Colin Kaepernick’s mind. Kaepernick was a middling quarterback in a league that cannot afford to pay millions to players who just aren’t winners.

During the 2015 season Kaepernick was rated statistically as one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. His team, the San Francisco 49’ers won 5 games and lost 11.  The 49’ers offense was ranked 31st in the league, out of 32 teams. In 2016 Kaepernick “led” the 49’ers to a 2 win 14 loss season, and the offense led by quarterback Kaepernick was again ranked as 31st in the league. Not many professional football teams are going to continue to subsidize such a lack of success on the field. They can’t afford to.

The best thing the NFL could do would be to show some guts and stand up to Kaepernick. He’s a lousy player and reflects poorly on the entire league. I once had been an avid football fan, but haven’t watched a single down of NFL play for two seasons now. If Kaepernick is once again allowed into the league and allowed to make a mockery of professional football, it won’t make much of a difference to the NFL but I for one will never watch another down of professional football again.

Truthfully my Sundays have actually been much more enjoyable, and I’ve had more quality time with my loved ones since I gave up professional football.

Image: Reuters