While there’s no shortage of NFL players and coaches coming to the defense of still-unsigned quarterback Colin Kaepernick, he has his detractors as well. Count Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy among that second group.
According to the two-time All-Pro, strictly based on ability, Kaepernick is good enough to play in the NFL, but he’s not talented enough to compensate for the distraction he’d bring to a team because he kneels during the national anthem.
“It’s a lot more than just he’s not on the team because he doesn’t want to stand for the national anthem,” McCoy said in the Bills locker room on Thursday. “That may have something to do with it, but I think also it has a lot to do with his play. I’m sure a lot of teams wouldn’t want him as their starting quarterback. That chaos that comes along with it, it’s a lot.
“As a team, trying to win and not have a distraction on the team, I just take that as a player—there’s certain players that could be on the team with big distractions, and there’s other players that it’s not good enough or not worth it. I think his situation is not good enough to have him on the team with all the attention that comes along with it. I’m sure if a guy like [Tom] Brady or a guy like whoever is your favorite player—Odell Beckham or a guy like that—you’ll deal with that attention and play him.”
In 2009, McCoy’s Philadelphia Eagles signed Michael Vick following the quarterback’s stint in prison for dogfighting. McCoy said on Thursday that at the time Vick was good enough to justify the noise that came with adding a convicted felon.
“He’s 10 times better than Kaepernick,” the running back said of Vick. “You’ll deal with that situation, that attention, that media aspect of it. The good, the bad attention you’ll get. Compared to Kaepernick, it’s like, he’s not really that good [enough] of a player to deal with.
“So people outside of sports don’t really know that. They see only one side of black guy standing up for a good reason [and] the NFL is against him, but I think it’s more than that. I think it has to do with some of that. But also, dealing with him with him on the team you’re trying to build together. There’s so many outsiders [that] can mess up a team. I can see both sides, I really can. … You just got to look at all sides. Like, if I’m an owner or the GM of a team, do I want to put him on my team? Is he good enough to be on the squad, to even deal with everything that’s going on? That’s something that I don’t really partake in.”
In March, 10-time All-Pro lineman Joe Thomas, whose Cleveland Browns have been quarterback-starved for decades, expressed a similar “distraction” sentiment regarding why teams, especially his, have yet to show interest in Kaepernick.