Richard Sherman was never one to mince his words.
The Pro Bowl Seahawks cornerback blasted the NFL for “blackballing” former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, all while taking a shot at the Jets’ atrocious quarterback situation in the process in an interview USA Today Sports published Wednesday.
Sherman said the main reason Kaepernick remains unsigned is due to his National Anthem protest last season, rather than the level of his play.
“Now if you told me this guy threw eight pick-sixes last year and played like a bum, had no talent, that’s one thing. But Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett or whoever is playing for the Jets right now – whoever is starting for the Jets is terrible – have jobs,” Sherman told USA Today Sports. “You’re telling me fans would rather you lose and put a worse player out there because a guy took a stand? That’s where it’s so troublesome to me.”
Fitzpatrick signed a $ 3 million deal with the Buccaneers this offseason after completing less than 57 percent of his passes and throwing 17 picks to just 12 touchdowns with the Jets last year. Mallet re-signed with the Ravens after throwing just six passes total last season.
Meanwhile, the Jets’ quarterback situation is so discouraging that fans have already given up on former second-round pick Christian Hackenberg, and are clamoring for the team to tank in hopes of drafting USC quarterback Sam Darnold, before Hackenberg has even appeared in an NFL game.
Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled last season with the Jets but still managed to sign a $ 3 million deal in the offseason.
For comparison’s sake, Kaepernick finished with a 90.7 quarterback rating last season – higher than Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers and Joe Flacco, among others.
Sherman said it’s ridiculous a player of Kaepernick’s caliber remains unsigned while the likes of Josh McCown and Blake Bortles are expected to open the season as starting quarterbacks.
“He played in Chip (Kelly)’s system last year and went 16-4 (TD-to-INT ratio) on a bad team,” Sherman told USA Today Sports. “He played well because he’s a good football player. He may not be the best, but he’s better than a lot of these dudes starting.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he has been in contact with Kaepernick and discussed signing him to back-up Flacco. While both Harbaugh and GM Ozzie Newsome are on board with signing Kaepernick, Ravens owner Steve Biscotti is “resistant” to the idea of signing the polarizing quarterback, ESPN reports.
The Ravens have since released a statement denying the accusation.
Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned despite posting a QB rating above 90 last season.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
“We are going through a process, and we have not made a decision,” Newsome said in a statement said. “Steve Bisciotti has not told us we cannot sign Colin Kaepernick, nor has he blocked the move. Whoever is making those claims is wrong.”
Giants owner John Mara previously said he never considered signing Kaepernick as a potential back-up to Manning due to the potential fan backlash the Giants would receive as a result.
“All my years being in the league, I never received more emotional mail from people than I did about that issue,” Mara said. “If any of your players ever do that, we are never coming to another Giants game. It wasn’t one or two letters. It was a lot. It’s an emotional, emotional issue for a lot of people, more so than any other issue I’ve run into.”
Sherman believes the fact that the NFL has repeatedly gone out of their way to deny Kaepernick is being blackballed only furthers his speculation that the dual-threat quarterback is being ostracized for his protesting and outspoken beliefs.
“The funny thing about it, when you’re not being blackballed, you don’t have to say he’s not being blackballed,” Sherman told USA Today Sports. “When football’s a safe game, you don’t have to say, ‘Football’s a safe game.’ It seems like (Roger Goodell) always has to say things to justify something.”