Even if he is nowhere to be seen on the playing grounds of professional football, Colin Kaepernick is everywhere these days.

The NFL’s most notable free agent continues to cast a massive shadow over the American sports landscape without taking a snap or uttering a peep.

It is without Kaepernick’s physical presence, just with the vestiges of what he started a year ago, that the first month of the football season has become a polarizing setting entangled in the country’s ongoing cultural tug-of-war.

Kaepernick’s quiet gesture last year when first sitting, then kneeling, during the playing of the national anthem has taken on a much larger life since he grudgingly left the game, relegated to bystander status since he declared for free agency in March.
“The longer Colin Kaepernick is not brought in from the cold, the more the National Football League is going to have a problem,” said Harry Edwards, the famed sports sociologist from UC Berkeley and San Jose State. “He should be on the team even if he is just holding a clipboard. It is in the best interest of the game.”