(Photo by Slate.com)
Once coach Chip Kelly named Colin Kaepernick the starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, all speculated reasons of his absence finally came to an end. From his supposedly emaciated weight to his salary guarantee upon a permanent injury to a reported restructured contract, no one cares as long as Blaine Gabbert is no longer on the field.
The 49ers deserve credit for capitulating to public pressure as Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke remain divided over the controversial quarterback. It is well-known in league circles that the underachieving general manager has grown tired of Kaepernick’s presence while Kelly has always wanted to use him as the main feature in his run-heavy offense.
Except, the Niners made things difficult by retaining him despite his National Anthem protest and him being dressed as a benched player. Publicly, dressing Kaepernick fueled critics’ anger toward him but increased fans and media demand for him to play. Financially, they may have brought on extra danger as playing him would increase the risk of him getting a permanent injury salary settlement.
Regardless, even though his deactivation would have put him in street clothes and decreased financial risk like the Washington Redskins’ of Robert Griffin III, the Niners developed a secret trick for their own personal gains as Kaepernick’s actions proved that “any press is good press.”
After he announced his motives of protesting the National Anthem in August, NFLShop.com revealed that Kaepernick’s jersey sold the most among NFL players. Over a month later, despite wearing shoes to offend police officers, receiving death threats, accusing two presidential candidates of racism after their debate, and playing only three regular-season offensive snaps, his jersey ranks second in sales, just behind Odell Beckham Jr.’s.
However, with eight of the ten highest grossing jerseys featuring players that played at least fifteen games, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson being the only top-50 selling player (no. 27) not to play a game, and a deactivated Robert Griffin III finishing outside the top-50 in 2015, the 49ers may have found a creative marketing strategy. By having a benched Kaepernick suit up, they used a “sport it, sell it” model to make his jersey more relevant for sales as his deactivation would have defeated the purpose of soliciting his jersey.
Think about it. Can you really sell a jersey better when a player does not wear it?
Besides, with what is likely the NFC’s most poorly constructed and least marketable roster, and their marketing department being well aware of the aforementioned uniform trend, do you actually think that the 49ers would take a moral or meritocratic stance when they needed and could make money off Kaepernick’s jerseys?
They only had one of the biggest rosters turnovers since the 2001 Baltimore Ravens tore apart their Super Bowl-winning roster from 2000. Patrick Willis, Chris Borland, Anthony Davis (the first time), and Justin Smith retired, and it is possible that Kelly is a tremendous waste of money as he is echelons far below Jim Harbaugh in the NFL and NCAA ranks.
To make amends for the turnover, possible due payments to two head coaches (Kelly and Jim Tomsula), and revenue as losers fail to generate any; there was no better way than to use Kaepernick as merchandise bait.
Like Kaepernick, you all have First Amendment rights by opting to agree or disagree with what I have to say. Regardless, when he looked healthy enough to not to be underweight, suited up despite his deactivation decreasing financial risk, and, lastly but notably, was highly unlikely not worse than Gabbert as a passer or runner, there is no sense in falling for what has been reported or sold to you. Remember, teams like to be secretive in everything they do, and when most revelations come through anonymous sources or after time passes, there is more sense behind this likely marketing conspiracy as teams want one thing besides winning: money and lots of it.
Now, with the team headed to Western New York to take on the Buffalo Bills, do not be surprised if Kaepernick’s jerseys sell better than they currently are as the aforementioned stats and history show that playing more can boost sales. From April to July 2011, Tim Tebow’s jerseys were the eighth-highest sold while he sat through a lockout and on the bench at Denver Broncos training camp. With the Broncos finishing 7-4 with him at season’s end, Tebow’s jersey finished second in sales, even though he was the league’s worst starting quarterback.
Remember that not all teams feel that they have a chance to win while all want profits when their fiscal years come to an end. NFL teams may put up headaches as long as they win. Except, when the NFLPA continues to shrivel under the failing and unqualified DeMaurice Smith and extra revenue streams are in sight; they will put up with even more as money can cure all ills, including losing.
Raiders’ Antonio Brown Settles Lawsuit
New Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, who was acquired via trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this offseason, has struck a settlement with a man, Ophir Sternberg, that claimed that he nearly killed a toddle by throwing furniture off of a Miami apartment building balcony, according to TMZ.
In the lawsuit, Sternberg claims his 22-month-old son was walking around the pool at the high-end apartment complex back in April 2018 when suddenly “large objects started to fall from the building many floors above them.”
Sternberg claimed that Brown tossed everything from vases, an ottoman, and other pieces of furniture from the balcony and they landed within feet of the toddler.
Brown had denied throwing the items, claiming that it was another person who had access to his apartment on that day.
Police responded to the scene and reported that Brown was “very agitated” and yelling when they arrived, noting that people have been trying to calm Brown down.
The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Eagles’ Jalen Mills Arrested
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills was arrested in Washington D.C following an altercation with Washington Wizards player Devin Robinson, according to the Associated Press’ Howard Fendrich (via the Washington Post).
Both men were charged with disorderly affray, which is described as fighting in a public place.
According to the Washington Post’s Candace Buckner, a verbal altercation broke out between the two that escalated into a physical fight that took place on the sidewalk.
Robinson was transported to a hospital following the fight with Mills and upon his release he was taken to to department’s 2nd District station where Mills was detained.
Mills and Robinson were “involved in a verbal altercation which escalated into a physical altercation on the sidewalk adjacent to the Opera Night Club” in the early hours of Saturday morning, according to the police report.
Both teams have since responded, with the Wizards essentially parting ways with Robinson due to the incident.
“We are aware of the incident this morning involving Devin and are disappointed in his actions. We will not extend him a qualifying offer for the 2019-20 season,” the Wizards said in a statement.
The Eagles issued a statement saying that they are “aware of the situation” and “continuing to gather more information.”
Mike Tannenbaum Joins ESPN
Following his run as Executive Vice President of Football Operations with the Miami Dolphins, and long-overdue dismissal following a disaster 2018 season, Mike Tannenbaum is joining ESPN, according to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.
Tannenbaum will end up being ESPN’s replacement for Bill Polian, who retired from broadcasting to become a co-founder of the Alliance of American Football, which officially ended all operations last week.
Tannenbaum will make appearances on SportsCenter, NFL Live, and other ESPN productions in the build up to the NFL Draft and will also be a part of ESPN’s draft coverage during the 2019 NFL Draft.
At the end of the 2018 season, Tannenbaum was “reassigned” within the Dolphins organization, although no details were provided at the time and no information regarding his re-assignment have been made public since.
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