Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy said what sports fans already understood about the alleged "blackballing" of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
It's not about race. It's not about the anthem. It's not about Black Lives Matter or the police. Before any of that other stuff, it's about football.
"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 to ESPN 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."
McCoy cuts through all the politics and outrage and gets to a sports truth that applies from Pop Warner and Little League all the way to the pros. The better you are as a player, the more you can get away with. More bad behavior, more controversy, more distractions.
You've probably seen it play out on your teams, or your children's teams. The star players can be late to practice and not get punished. They can loaf a little bit during conditioning and skate by. They can even yell at the coaches and not get kicked off the team. It might not be right, but it has always been the way of the world in sports.
"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," McCoy said. "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."
Even a glance around the NFL shows that it's not national anthem protests that are keeping Kaepernick as a free agent. He's far from the only person to kneel during the anthem.
A group of Cleveland Browns players just did it. Marshawn Lynch sat during the anthem. Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett refuses to stand, and is very outspoken about his social justice efforts. They all have jobs.
McCoy said the people who are viewing Kaepernick's situation as pitting the NFL versus a black man with a cause are missing the point.
"People outside of sports don't really know that," McCoy said. "They see only one side of a black guy standing up for a good reason [and] the NFL is against him."
McCoy has a unique perspective on controversial quarterbacks. McCoy was a teammate of former quarterback Michael Vick, who came to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009 after serving time in prison on dogfighting charges. Why did he get a second chance, while Kaepernick is unemployed? To McCoy, the answer is simple.
"He's 10 times better than Kaepernick," McCoy 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."
NFL teams will find ways to excuse anything if a player is good enough. Domestic violence. Drug use. Gang affiliation. Everything gets politicized now, but in sports, sometimes you're just not good enough to be worth the trouble, and that's all that matters.