Since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started protesting the national anthem in 2016, multiple NFL players have joined his cause. While the majority didn't protest with the former quarterback, they haven't said much of anything publicly against him, either.
Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy just changed all that. As people are protesting the NFL for allegedly coming down on Kaepernick for his political stances, McCoy doesn't see that as the big reason he is without a team.
McCoy, who was voted the 27th best player in the NFL for 2017, didn't hold back anything about the issue. First, McCoy suggested NFL players have freedom of speech but could choose a “better platform” to exercise that freedom.
McCoy said, in part:
"It's a lot more than just he's not on the team because he doesn't want to stand for the national anthem. I think it's more than that. That may have something to do with it, but I think also it has a lot to do with his play. I'm sure a lot of teams wouldn't want him as their starting quarterback. You know? That chaos that comes along with it, I mean it's a lot.
As a team, trying to win and not have a distraction on the team, I just take that as a player — there's certain players that could be on the team with big distractions, and there's other players that they're not good enough where it's worth it.
I think his situation is not good enough to have him on the team with all the attention that comes along with it. I'm sure if a guy like [Tom] Brady or a guy like whoever is your favorite player — Odell Beckham or a guy like that — you'll deal with that attention and play him."
McCoy posed a question: “Like, if I'm an owner or the GM of a team, do I want to put him on my team?”
Then, he added, “Is he good enough to be on the squad, to even deal with everything that's going on? That's something that I don't really partake in.”
When asked about Michael Vick next to Kaepernick on the field, McCoy stated that Vick is “10 times better.”
McCoy continued, “The good, the bad attention you'll get. Compared to Kaepernick, it's like, he's not really that good [enough] of a player to deal with.”
McCoy said he could see both sides of the issue, but he still doesn't see the anthem as the fundamental reason why Kaepernick remains unsigned:
“So people outside of sports don't really know that. They see only one side of black guy standing up for a good reason [and] the NFL is against him, but I think it's more than that. I think it has to do with some of that. But also, dealing with him with him on the team you're trying to build together. There's so many outsiders [that] can mess up a team. I can see both sides, I really can.”
McCoy concluded, calling Kaepernick just an “OK player.”
With two weeks until the regular season begins, NFL players are continuing Kaepernick's protest. Perhaps they will take note of what McCoy has to say about it.