As NFL teams prepare to kickoff preseason games this week, one notable quarterback is without a team.
Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who controversially took a knee during performances of the National Anthem, is without an NFL contract as of Tuesday evening. Because none of the 32 teams in the NFL have signed Kaepernick, some are calling for a boycott of the league.
On Change.org, more than 100,000 people have signed an online petition vowing not to buy NFL merchandise or watch games as long as Kaepernick remains off of an NFL roster. Those boycotting cite statistics claiming that Kaepernick's quarterback rating is better than half of the backup quarterbacks currently signed to deals.
Petitioners believe it's Kaepernick's stance on social issues, and not his performance, which has caused him not to be signed by any teams.
On Tuesday, actor Spike Lee promoted a protest that is scheduled for Aug. 23 outside of the NFL's New York headquarters. Lee said that he believes that NFL teams have colluded against Kaepernick.
According to NFL's website, Kaepernick has only met with the Seahawks during the offseason. Seattle opted to sign Austin Davis as one of its backup quarterbacks instead of Kaepernick.
"He is committed to football, there's no question about it," Seattle GM John Schneider said on Inside Training Camp Live. "The thing that maybe is a misconception is he's a really, really nice man and he has his thoughts, he has his plan and it's one of those things where it's right time, right fit and I'm sure he's going to find it."
Schneider added that he thinks Kaepernick will join an NFL roster at some point this season.
It was less than five years ago that Kaepernick was arguably one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. During the 2012 season, he took over the starting spot from Alex Smith and guided the 49ers to the Super Bowl. In 2013, with Kaepernick under center, the 49ers went 12-4 and earned a spot in the NFC title game.
After a mediocre 2014 season, Kaepernick lost the starting job during the middle of the 2015 season.
During the 2016 preseason, Kaepernick announced he would not stand during the National Anthem due to social inequality. He was joined by dozens of other athletes in similar on-field protests.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Despite starting the season as a backup, Kaepernick started 11 games for the 49ers, tossing 16 touchdowns and four interceptions.