Former home run king and Atlanta Braves legend Hank Aaron knows a thing or two about persistence. Aaron put in 23 seasons in the majors, breaking the all-time home run record during his exceptional career.
Despite a desire to return to the NFL, Colin Kaepernick may not get that chance. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback continues to be passed over for jobs due to his national anthem protest from last season.
If it were up to Aaron, that wouldn’t be the case. In an interview with TV One, Aaron said he believes in Kaepernick’s talent, and hopes a team will give him an opportunity.
Aaron makes a lot of the same arguments we’ve seen from those who believe Kaepernick belongs in the NFL. If you’re strictly basing it on talent, it’s tough to say he’s worse than some other backups around the league. Anyone who has seen Blake Bortles’ recent play – or Ryan Mallett’s entire career – should agree with that.
And yes, there’s an argument that Kaepernick requires a specific offense in order to be successful, but if it wins games, that shouldn’t be a problem. Also, if a team’s No. 1 or No. 2 quarterback can’t run a normal offense anyway, what’s the harm in changing things to accommodate Kaepernick?
Aaron believes in Kaepernick’s talent, and expresses a desire to see other players stand up and show their support for the quarterback. He agrees that NFL owners are likely the ones keeping Kaepernick out of the game, and cites the Baltimore Ravens as an example of that.
The Ravens were reportedly considering signing Kaepernick in July, but eventually went another direction. Aaron seems to believe both head coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome would have no problem with Kaepernick as Joe Flacco’s backup. Despite that, the team did not sign him.
For the most part, Aaron has stayed out of the spotlight in retirement. He gave interviews around the time Barry Bonds broke the home run record, but normally keeps things private. So, seeing him speak out on any topic should have an impact on baseball fans. It’s worth noting Aaron has spoken out about civil rights issues in the past, and is part of the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame.
Whether fans will agree with Aaron is a whole different matter entirely. Aaron is respected around the game. Many fans still consider him the true home run king even though Bonds’ 762 is greater than Aaron’s 755.
But that probably won’t matter with Kaepernick. His protest is a hot-button issue, where both sides are fervent in their stance. Aaron giving his opinion would normally carry a lot of weight, but Kaepernick’s situation may already be too out of control for the stance of a normally reserved baseball legend to make much of an impact.
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Related coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• The Kaepernick issue is about to hit home for NFL
• NYPD officers take a knee to support Kaepernick
• Dan Wetzel: Is it time to divorce the anthem from sports?
• Dan Wetzel: Who NFL should blame for Kaepernick rally