Joe Santoro: Should we stop caring about Kaepernick? | NevadaAppeal.com

Joe Santoro: Should we stop caring about Kaepernick?

Joe Santoro

Joe Santoro

Sports fodder for a Friday morning … Everyone needs to stop suggesting they know what Colin Kaepernick wants or thinks. Here's what we know about Kaepernick's NFL career. He used to play quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Now he doesn't. That's it.

We don't know why he no longer plays for the 49ers. We don't even know how badly he wants to play in the future. But everyone, even former 49ers quarterback Joe Montana, has an opinion on the current state of Kaepernick's career. You know who isn't talking about Kaepernick's NFL career? Kaepernick. He's not complaining publicly he's out of work. He doesn't even seem overly concerned about it. It's time we all need to stop caring, too.

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If this is indeed the end of Kaepernick's football career then football fans have been cheated. Kaepernick was clearly on a path to transforming the position of quarterback. He came within one pass of winning a Super Bowl. He came within another pass of going to a second consecutive Super Bowl. He was doing things on a football field no other quarterback had ever done, running and throwing in an offense (the pistol) that was changing the sport. And then it all fell apart. The 49ers had a meltdown. Coach Jim Harbaugh was forced out. The team around Kaepernick disintegrated. The pistol offense became stale and predictable almost overnight. Kaepernick didn't change. Everything around him changed. Yes, his focus went from football to politics. But it's hard to blame him. The sport of football, his coaches, his teammates, his organization, his league all abandoned him. There's never been anyone like Kaepernick in the NFL, on or off the field. The NFL simply isn't smart enough to know what to do with him, on or off the field. So it's merely choosing to ignore him, hoping he just goes away.

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Is it time the San Francisco Giants look for a new manager? That's not as silly a concept as you might think. Yes, Bruce Bochy has won three World Series in San Francisco. And, yes, he's right behind Bill Walsh and still ahead of Steve Kerr as the most beloved head coach or manager in Bay Area history. But sometimes a change is needed. Bochy has just a .517 winning percentage as Giants manager, behind former Giants managers Felipe Alou (.529), Dusty Baker (.540), Clyde King (.534), Herman Franks (.567) and Alvin Dark (.569) and just slightly ahead of Roger Craig (.509). He's won 90 or more games just twice in 11 seasons and won just two division titles. Bochy is now also 62 years old. He also might want a change.

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The Giants are headed toward one of their worst seasons since moving to San Francisco from New York in 1958. They're 34-56, 27 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West. It is a distinct possibility the Giants could lose 100 games in a season for just the second time (the 1985 team was 62-100) since moving west. The most games the Giants have ever finished out of first place since moving to San Francisco was 33 in 1985. That record could also be in jeopardy. It's not Bochy's fault. But when your team is this bad, it's not about fault. It's about starting over.

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The problem the Giants face is their core players, for the most part, are in the prime of their careers. This is not a team that should be broken apart anytime soon. Madison Bumgarner, Joe Panik, Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Eduardo Nunez, Hunter Strickland, Matt Moore, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Mark Melancon are all between 26 and 32 years of age. That is not a team you rebuild. It's a team you supplement with talent. The Giants will likely not do anything drastic by the trade deadline, preferring instead to just chalking this season up to bad breaks. They also can't expect players like Posey, Bumgarner, Belt and Crawford to be part of a massive rebuild and waste a large chunk of the prime of their careers.

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It didn't take long for former Nevada Wolf Pack forward Cam Oliver to prove he belongs in the NBA. Oliver played three NBA Summer League games for the Houston Rockets this past week (through Wednesday) and played well in two of them. The 6-foot-8 Oliver had six points, five rebounds and three blocks against Denver on July 7 and nine points and five boards against Phoenix on June 10. Against Phoenix, he had two 3-pointers 26 seconds part and three minutes later sank three straight free throws. Against Denver, he had two blocks, a steal, an assist and a dunk in his first four minutes of play. In his only other appearance, he had no points and three fouls in just seven minutes in June 8 against Cleveland. He's doing all of the things — shooting threes, blocking shots, passing the ball, rebounding — that he did for the Pack.

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Aaron Judge, according to all of the over-the-top hype we heard during the All-Star game and Home Run Derby festivities this week from the national media, is the new national face of baseball. Mike Trout and Bryce Harper might have something to say about that in the second half of the season but nobody is complaining. The sport of baseball needs all of the national faces it can get. A great power hitter wearing the uniform of the New York Yankees is always a good thing for baseball. Professional sports is all about marketing and capturing the imagination of the public and Judge certainly does that. He looked like Paul Bunyan during the Home Run Derby.

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The only question now is how many home runs Judge will hit this season. He sits at 30 with 76 games remaining in the Yankees' season so a total of around 50 is a real possibility. But don't be stunned if Judge ends up in the high 40s. Reggie Jackson's 1969 season with the Oakland A's comes to mind. Jackson had 33 homers after hitting three in one game against the Seattle Pilots on July 2. He hit his 40th with a home run against the Yankees on July 29. Jackson, though, would hit just two home runs after Aug. 24 to finish with 47. Judge will see less and less strikes as the season progresses and as his body begins to wear down after his first full season in the big leagues.

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