By Gary Peterson
The Mercury News (TNS)
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season with an elbow injury.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees is out for six weeks with a thumb injury.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is suffering from an incomplete understanding of how to play quarterback in the NFL.
In other news, Colin Kaepernick’s phone is ringing off the hook.
No, those aren’t personnel executives from Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Miami beseeching the former 49ers quarterback to Save Our Ship. They’re well-wishers who just heard that Nike’s “Dream Crazy” spot was named the outstanding commercial at the Creative Arts Emmys. The ad features Kaepernick exhorting all of us to think big and aim high.
While Kaepernick is the spirit and voice in the spot, the Emmy went to the ad agency Wieden and Kennedy, and production company Park Pictures.
In a perfect world, Kaepernick would be flying to Pittsburgh today. There never would have been any need for a “Dream Crazy” commercial. There would have been no collusion grievance against the NFL brought by Kaepernick and his former 49ers teammate Eric Reid last year. There wouldn’t have been any need for Kaepernick to start kneeling down during the national anthem three years ago.
But it is what it is, and we are who we are.
“All of the best advertising is reflective of the zeitgeist of the times, and the zeitgeist of today is a divided America,” David Hollander, an assistant dean at New York University’s Tisch Institute for Global Sport,” told the New York Times. “It’s no secret to anyone that we’re in an extremely tense time, and it’s the job of marketers to translate that into the movement of their product or service.”
The commercial was a poignant message launched at a pregnant time. It has not been a difference maker.
Kaepernick says he works out every day so he can be ready if called on to return to the NFL. He has to know that will never happen. But it’s a good thing that he is out there, reminding everyone about the intolerant times in which we live. And to shine a light on the disingenuous, hypocritical manner in which the NFL does business.
The Washington franchise last season saw two quarterbacks go down with broken legs in late November. Kaepernick was never going to get that call.
He isn’t going to hear from the aforementioned franchises who are desperate for a healthy body and half a clue.
Contrast that dynamic to the manner in which Antonio Brown burned his bridges on his way out of Pittsburgh, then turned the Raiders’ training camp into a full-on circus.
The Patriots couldn’t wait to sign Brown after the Raiders cut him. He had barely touched down in New England when he was sued by a former trainer alleging sexual assault and rape. Then came the release of text messages purportedly from Brown addressed to the alleged victim, some of the most repulsive language and attitudes you can imagine.
In the midst of this odious whirlwind came a release in which Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he wouldn’t have signed Brown if he had known about the lawsuit. If you believe that, you have likely forgotten how Kraft prepares for a playoff game.
None of the above is going to change Kaepernick’s world. But there is benefit in the next best thing — Kaepernick sticking his finger in the league’s eye and mocking it without saying a word.
A look ahead at Bruce Arians’ first year in Tampa Bay and a critical season for Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers.