Mark Madden: A tale of two quarterbacks, using that term loosely
A tale of two quarterbacks (if I may use that term loosely):
• Mason Rudolph should have been suspended for one game after that melee at Cleveland on Thursday. I am not outraged by Rudolph being merely fined, and I agree with the other discipline handed down.
But Rudolph started it.
Yes, Myles Garrett hit Rudolph a little late, but quarterback is a dangerous job. What Garrett did is part of the game.
Rudolph initiated the actual fight when he and Garrett were on the ground and Rudolph tried to wrench off Garrett’s helmet. When that was just about broken up, Rudolph charged Garrett with David DeCastro in proximity and two other Steelers approaching.
That doesn’t justify Garrett going nuclear. But Rudolph started it, then prolonged it.
ESPN’s Max Kellerman voiced this opinion, adding the appropriate histrionics. O.J. Simpson absolved Garrett. (Of course, he did.) Actor Samuel L. Jackson tweeted Rudolph “played badly, fought worse.” (Guilty as charged.)
ESPN’s Josina Anderson insinuated (and then deleted her comment) via Twitter that Rudolph uttered a racial slur, adding, “Never seen Garrett act like that, ever.” (Except for Week 1, when Garrett punched a Tennessee Titan and Week 2, when Garrett’s late hit ended the season of New York Jets quarterback Trevor Siemian.)
The NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala chose to be just plain stupid, blaming the play call: “Why are you calling a pass, anyway? Run a draw and call it a night.” That doesn’t justify committing assault with a deadly weapon. Same agenda, even dumber statement.
But Rudolph isn’t blameless. A one-game suspension would have been apropos.
• When Colin Kaepernick first took a knee during the national anthem to protest social injustice, I supported his right to do so. Still do.
But NFL owners have rights, too. They also have the money.
If you take a stand like Kaepernick, be prepared for the consequences.
When Tommie Smith and John Carlos did their black power salute on the medal stand at the 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympics after finishing first and third, respectively, in the 200 meters, they got expelled from the Games and ostracized by the U.S. sporting establishment.
They didn’t get their due until years later.
Kaepernick isn’t Smith or Carlos. Nowhere close. He’s not Jackie Robinson or Rosa Parks, either. Nor is he Kunta Kinte.
Kaepernick wore a “Kunta Kinte” T-shirt to his sham of a workout this past Saturday in Atlanta. Kunta Kinte was the protagonist in the book and TV series “Roots.” He was kidnapped into slavery in Africa, then brought to America.
Kaepernick is a millionaire who wants more. I fail to see the connection.
As ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said, Kaepernick doesn’t really want to play in the NFL again. He wants to continue and maximize his martyrdom. Why else would he insult the NFL every chance he got just before and immediately after Saturday’s de facto job interview?
No team wants (or should want) a backup quarterback who is going to hold regular news conferences. If Kaepernick did get signed, his vocal army of stooges would be demanding he start the first time his team’s No. 1 quarterback threw an incompletion. Up next, the Pro Bowl. It would never stop.
After an impressive workout that saw him complete passes to receivers who weren’t being covered, Kaepernick said, “We are waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams and (NFL commissioner) Roger Goodell to stop running.”
Kaepernick is 32.
He hasn’t played in the NFL since 2016. He wasn’t that good in the first place.
You don’t have to run to escape the idea of employing Kaepernick. Strolling briskly and using common sense will do the trick.
Kaepernick just isn’t worth the trouble. It’s just not important that he’s employed. In 10 years, no one will be talking about him.