Posts Tagged ‘Colin Kaepernick’

When Facts are Not the Truth: The Blackballing of Colin Kaepernick

Monday, June 5th, 2017

by Gus Griffin







It seems Dan Orvlovsky will be calling it a career.

Yes, that Dan Orvlovsky was still in the league in 2016.  The same one who in 2008, made the 2nd most egregious (after a throwing a pick 6 inside your own 20) hustling backwards move a QB can make.  He literally sacked himself!

While with what would become the 0-16 Lions, Orvlovsky retreated away from the Vikings Jared Allen and with absolutely no awareness of the back of the end zone, which by rule is a safety and two points for the Vikings, and gives them the ball.

This play was literally his claim to fame.

Nevertheless, he was never subjected to the ever sticking “he can’t read defenses…I mean the back of end zones”.  In fact, after that season and play, 3 other NFL teams, the Texans, Colts, and Buccaneers thought he was good enough to be a backup.  Simply put, a guy who was not good enough for arguably the worst team in NFL history still got 3 other jobs with NFL teams.  Still, yet some are still trying to rationalize with a straight face that “system” incompatibility explains why Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have a job?

You may as well piss on me and try to tell me it’s raining!

This is a perfect example of when an analysis can be factual and well-based and yet not be truth at the same time.  Facts are statements or analysis that can be supported with verifiable reality.  Truth are facts within the full context of contributing factors.

The facts are that Colin Kaepernick is not, nor ever has been a traditional drop back passer.  It simply is not his strongest skill-set and thus a system calling for that is not a good match.  Some pitchers have a great fastball but not much of an off-speed pitch.  Some guards are good at penetrating but don’t shoot well from the outside.  Most professionals are incomplete.  It doesn’t mean that there is no job for them.

But when these facts are offered up to explain why he doesn’t have a job in the NFL, they are not truthful.

Always be leery of the “he can’t read defenses” critique, which is a dog whistle way of calling Black quarterbacks dumb.  The fact is he has had a poor offensive line which has contributed to an unreliable running game and non-threatening receivers.  Under such circumstances, knowing when to get the hell out of Dodge is actually a sign of intelligence.  Staying in the pocket to take an unnecessary beating would be dumb.

The truth is, the overwhelming number of NFL QBs, both historically, present day, and even the Hall of Famers are system dependent!

Only one today is not burdened with such limitations and that would be of course Aaron Rogers!  He is the beginning and end of the current list to have all the specialized skills that can accommodate any of the common offensive schemes/systems of today.  In short, one must be able to throw the deep out, be accurate in traffic, avoid the rush, and extend plays when the pocket breaks down; and also know when to get rid of the ball, usually with a 3-step drop.  Historically, for me, only 4 others come to mind; Roger Staubach, Warren Moon (you must remember the Moon at Washington and in the CFL), John Elway, and Steve Young.

No, Tom Brady cannot run the read-option or avoid pressure, nor could Peyton Manning.  Big Ben has never nor ever could be a traditional 3-step drop West Coast passer.  In fact, that would be contrary to his strength which would be to extend plays.

So, if 95% plus of NFL QBs are system dependent, then that could not possibly be the reason for a QB not being able to get a job.  The truth is that the NFL is arguably the most exclusive cartel in the world.  Its owners only answer to a commissioner that they have the authority to fire.  Even if their product is bad, every team prints money.  Such people are not very interested in anyone posing serious questions about the society that allows them such privilege, and that is what Kapernick did.  They didn’t have to all agree on a conference call or meet at some golf club for the blackballing to take place, any more than drug lords need to verbally agree that potential witnesses need to be taken out.  It’s understood.  Common interests often are reflected in common motives and behaviors.

It is warranted to “peacock” about American freedom of speech.  I am not aware of such a principle being written into law quite the way it is here.  But part of that pride should come from having the capacity to stomach the speech or expression one does not like or agree with as well.  Thus far, the NFL has not mastered that aspect of the principle.


Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

To Stand or Not to Stand at Sporting Events?

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

by Gus Griffin







On Thursday, I’ll be attending my first Washington Wizards game of the season.   They would be on a 15-game home winning streak as my Lakers roll in to make their one and only DC appearance of the year.  One could make the case that I shouldn’t stand for the National Anthem in protest of how bad my Lakers have been these past 3 years.  But of course the issue is much larger than this notion.


Long before Colin Kaepernick decided not to stand for the National Anthem, I was conflicted about the whole issue.  On the one hand, the mere fact that I do have the right “not to stand”, is in of itself, a reason to stand. There is something to be said for that rationale. There certainly are places where if I were to dare not follow the company patriot line, even at a sporting event, I would be subjected to much more than mean stares.  For me, that would be about the extent of my “persecution”, here in America.


Then on the other hand, should Black people feel obliged to honor a country that has treated us as it has?  And while that treatment has certainly varied and even subsided over the course of time, only volunteer denial would assert that it has ended.  Would standing be an honor to those before me never afforded full American status, or those who died trying to attain such, or a dishonor?


While the decision is personal for all, my conclusion is ultimately this: what good is it to have a “right to protest” and then not use it to raise awareness about the very fragility of one’s life?


So there it is.  I will not be standing again anytime soon.


Now surely some will read this and will say, “if you don’t like it here leave!”   I will likely take them up on that offer upon retirement.


Still others will say, “sports is supposed to be an escape from such issues”.   To a limited extent, it can be.  But when I enter that arena at about 6:59 PM, whatever realities existed about being Black in America will neither be suspended nor dissipate because I stood for the National Anthem.  Likewise, when I leave at about 9:30 PM, those realities will still be here.  In fact, my standing will only co-sign maintaining the status quo.


The last most common response is, “I support your right but wish you found another way to do it”.  To that I say, such as what?


Voting isn’t enough!

The accumulation of wealth isn’t enough!

Education isn’t enough!

Pulling up your pants in favor of a suit and tie isn’t enough!

And even going to church for Bible study and prayer isn’t enough.


While I don’t dismiss all of the above as useless, I do contend that they have all been tried and are simply not enough to address the shameful treatment of Black folks in America since our forced arrival.  So who among us with serious intent to address the problems would offer more of the same solutions?   If we do the same, we’ll get the same.  But if we dare to do something different, at the very least we can spark some conversations that may lead to positive change.


The best option as I see it, based on history and my personal experience, is to engage in organized struggle to include protest.  It is neither easy nor simple.  But I see no collective progress made that did not require this, and sports is as viable a venue to spark such struggle as any other.


Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

NFL: 10 Things We Learned From Week 1

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

by Ricky O’Neil

Ricky O Blog






(Photo courtesy of

(Photo courtesy of

Week 1 of the NFL is behind us and there can be alot of things to be excited about. Rookies finally getting starts, players coming back from injuries, and one of the most outstanding single game performances we have ever seen. These are some of the important things that I learned while watching.

1. Peyton Manning is not human
Manning decided to open the season with an outstanding performance. SEVEN passing touchdowns against the Baltimore Ravens. The addition of Wes Welker helped, Demaryius Thomas is still catching TDs, and also the Ravens not having Ed Reed or Ray Lewis could have played a role.

2. Adrian Peterson could very well break the single season rushing TD record
We all know what type of running back AP is, but did we really think his very first carry would go for a touchdown? 78 yards straight to the house on the first play from scrimmage for the Vikings. Even though he only had 93 yards, he also had 3 TDs. 25 more in 15 games is possible.

3. The Steelers defense is not what it once was
This being my favorite team, it saddens me to say this, but the years of the Steelers ruling the defensive side of the ball are over. James Harrison gone, rush defense not as good, but at least they’re still making some type of effort, only losing by 7.

4. Geno Smith Prospering???
Even though playing the Bucs, Geno Smith and the NY Jets got a victory in Week 1. Smith threw for 256 yards and one TD, and also rushed six times for 47 yards. Now let’s not look too far into it because they play New England this week.

5. Tom Brady is still Tom Brady
They played the Bills…The game should not have been close at all in my opinion, but it became interesting late in the game. Tom Brady put together a game-winning drive (like usual) and the Patriots won by 2 with a late FG. Brady threw for 288 yards with 2 TDs. “Brady being Brady.”

6Chip Kelly’s offense is very exciting
The Eagles got a W to start the season off and Chip Kelly got the game ball afterwards. The fast-pace offense had a total of 77 offensive plays. It was great to see the “Oregon Style” offense in the NFL. Plus Mike Vick is the PERFECT guy to be running it.

7RG3 was nervous stepping back onto the field
Even though the Redskins put up a fight late in the game, RG3 did not look like himself in the first half of his game Monday night. Scared to take a hit of any kind. But as he got back into the groove of the game, he started stepping up and rushing a little bit. The Redskins still lost by 6.

8. Philip Rivers can’t close a game out
The Chargers were winning ALL GAME… Philip Rivers was having a great game. The Chargers defense was stepping up, making all the big stops needed. Houston started a comeback, and all Rivers needed to do was hold on to the football. Of course, deep in his own endzone, throws a pick 6 and Houston tied the game up. After that, Houston ends up kicking a FG to win the game. SMH… Same Ole Rivers.

9. Carson is on his way back!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying he is going to win MVP, but Arizona could be the best place for him. Not a bad defense, plus Larry Fitzgerald to throw to…not bad. Losing by 3 to the Rams isn’t a good start with a new team though.

10. Colin Kaepernick can throw the ball just a well as he can run
Playing the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick stayed in the pocket more often than not. Throwing for 412 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, becoming the only 49ers QB (other than Joe Montana) to throw for 400 yards, 3 TDs, and 0 INTs.

Week 1 was very exciting and we have 15 more regular season weeks to go… And as for my Fantasy leagues, I went 4-1 so I’m a happy NFL fan


Ricky O’Neil of ITMORO, for War Room Sports

Super Bowl XLVII Preview

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

by Brandon Pemberton





While it’s the day we’ve been looking forward to since training camps opened up in July, it’s also bittersweet, knowing that the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens are playing the final game of the 2012 NFL season on Sunday.  There are plenty of good stories related to the big game: Jim and John Harbaugh are the coaches and brothers, born only 15 months apart and coming from a father Jack, who was a good coach himself.  Ray Lewis is playing in his final game, win or lose and the story that he used a banned substance to speed up his recovery from his torn triceps has trumped the fact that his 17-year illustrious career is coming to a close.   Finally we have 49ers’ QB Colin Kaepernick who will being starting only his 10th game of his career –  In New Orleans at Super Bowl XLVII, which by far is the most important and intriguing story of them all.  The fate of the 49ers for the most part lays on his shoulders.  I will preview and breakdown the game: Offensively, Defensively, and on Special teams and give you my winner.

Joe Flacco (l); Colin Kaepernick (r)










49ers: When head coach Jim Harbaugh decided to stick with Colin Kaepernick and make him the 49ers starting QB after Alex Smith went down with a concussion, he was taking a big risk.  A move like that could split the locker room and possibly cost a team that already was good enough to make the Super Bowl, their season.  But Kaepernick has been 7-2 as a starter (including 2-0 playoffs), adding a big play dimension to the 49ers that they lacked with Alex Smith at the helm.  The 49ers utilize the zone read and read option very well with Kaepernick’s ability to use his legs, opening up more passing lanes off of play action and it also gives more running room for running backs Frank Gore and LaMichael James.  They will have a tough task running up against the stout front of the Ravens, but they will and have shown the tendency to keep running the ball, to keep teams honest.

The 49ers passing game is much more explosive with Kaepernick’s strong arm and the 49ers receivers are benefiting from it.  Vernon Davis had 5 catches for 106 yards and a TDs two weeks ago versus the Falcons.  Randy Moss had 3 catches for 46 yards, his best performance in a while.  While most think he his just a running QB, Kaepernick has shown the ability to throw accurate strikes from the pocket.  Look for the 49ers to attack the Ravens linebackers and safeties in the passing game with tight ends Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker and with a fast running backs like LaMicheal James.  I think that’s going to be the key for the 49ers offensively to beat the Ravens.


Ravens: The Baltimore offense is led by Joe Flacco who has thrown for eight TD’s and no interceptions in three playoff games thus far.  Flacco has proved the doubters wrong about his ability to perform and win big games and is one game away from being in the “Elite” class of QB’s.  This Ravens offense has been on fire, scoring 30 points per game in the playoffs.  The one-two punch of Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce have been very effective, averaging 148.2 yards during the playoffs and allowing Flacco to hit targets down the field via playaction.  Expect offensive coordinator Jim Cadwell to continue to feature the running game and take advantage of Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, and Dennis Pitta down field in the passing game.  Also, the Ravens offensive line must do a good job protecting Joe Flacco.  49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has been on a sack drought lately and could have a breakout game.

Ray Lewis (l); Patrick Willis (r)










49ers: The 49ers defense is led by the two best inside linebackers in all of football, Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman.  Watching them on film is a joy, they can do it all.  They are great against the run and even better defending the pass.  What the 49ers do scheme-wise is solely on Willis and Bowman’s ability to cover tight ends, running backs, and some slot receivers effectively.  The 49ers are usually stout against the run and they must be ready for the Ravens stubborn, but effective rushing attack.  Their defensive backs must play better as well.  There were times vs the Falcons in which the safeties were caught out of position and allowed receivers to get behind them.  The Ravens passing game is predicated on getting the ball down the field.  Aldon and Justin Smith must put pressure on Ravens QB Joe Flacco and force him to make errant throws and possibly turn the ball over.

Ravens: The Ravens defense is playing its best football of the year at the right time.  During the season, Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata, and obviously Terrell Suggs were all hurt and not at 100%.  But during the playoffs, they have looked like the Ravens defense of old, allowing just over 14 points per game, not counting the 14 points their special teams unit allowed to Denver on two returns.  When watching the coach’s tape, three players that aren’t household names: cornerbacks Carey Williams and Corey Graham, and Inside Linebacker Dannell Ellerbee, jumped off the screen.  Williams and Graham have been excellent in the playoffs, challenging receivers with press, man-to-man coverage and disrupting the routes and timing.  Dannell Ellerbee has been great, especially in pass coverage, covering the open areas of the field that Ray Lewis can’t at this point of his career.

Ray Lewis is obviously their emotional leader, clearly not the same player he once was, but he still gets his team in the right places pre-play and uses knowledge and smarts to make plays.  Ed Reed will definitely pose a problem for the young QB Colin Kaepernick.  He has baited the best of quarterbacks into throwing a pass they think he can’t get to, but he does.  An interception in a big spot could decide the football game.  Also, the defensive unit must play assignment, team defense when the 49ers go with their read option attack.  If everyone sticks to their assignment and guys defeat blocks and tackle, they will be fine.


Special Teams

49ers: Kicker David Akers broke an NFL record with 14 missed field goals, a year after having the best season of his career.  He’s been shaky all season and a bad performance by him could cost his team the game.  KR/PR Ted Ginn Jr. is a big play threat, and could help the offense with field position.

Ravens: Kicker Justin Hunter has been very good this season, making 21-23 field goals.  We know he’s great inside of 50 yards, but he hasn’t attempted or made a field goal outside of 50 yards all season.  This game is played indoors, which is better conditions for kickers, so he might get a shot to show us where his leg really is.

Jacoby Jones is a Pro Bowl Kick/Punt Returner and one of the league’s best.  He is not only a home run threat, but he is sure-handed as well.


Prediction: Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers are playing great football.  The move to him as QB has paid huge dividends as they are in the big game, but I think the Ravens are going to force him to win the game from the pocket.  This is the game in which Kaepernick makes a mistake or two that will give the Ravens a short field, allowing Joe Flacco to strike.  I simply trust Flacco more in big game situation and I think he leads the Ravens to the victory.  Ravens 24 49ers 23


Brandon Pemberton of Sports Trap Radio, for War Room Sports