If you’re an NFL fan, you’re well aware of the situation surrounding 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick. And I think even if we can’t all agree on his stand, we can agree that it’s an emotionally charged issue that could potentially divide the locker room and create ramifications that coaches and team officials don’t want to face.

I wondered if there’s any way such a situation could have been avoided in the scouting process. In other words, could scouts find out, with any degree of certainty, if a player — though honest, high in character, and far away from anything criminal — is prone to sparking this kind of situation? I asked several of my friends in scouting and I got these responses.

  • “Yes, you can get this information. I believe most scouts are lazy. There’s a lot of different ways you can (get this information), and (scouts are) in a power position with an NFL shield on their chests and a logo that everyone’s like, ‘wow.’ The more you go (to a school) and talk to people (and you) make it a whole day trip, you learn about how they handle scouts and how you can get info from teams. If you give them good info (about the NFL and how evaluation works), next thing you know, (teams and their coaches are) gonna think you walk on water, and pretty soon, they’re telling you, ‘he’s really a (jerk).’ And you got that extra piece of info that all it took was a couple extra hours to get. Does it take time? 100 percent! From Year 1 to Year 2, as a scout, I figured it out, but it just takes time.”
  • “Definitely you could and would find those guys. There are numerous guys through the years that you would learn of because they were different. I never (scouted) Colin, but it seems to me he had some different things in his character profile.”
  • “Well, I think it’s a different circumstance (with Kaepernick), but with a lot of other players you scout, it comes up from sources at the school(, for example,) that he has “gang affiliations” but there’s been no bad behavior on his part at the school, but you know there’s a small chance something bad could happen down the road. With Kaepernick, I think he’s shifted his personality so drastically the last year or so that it would have been very tough to tell he would do something like this coming out of college. A lot of times, though, scouts may ask, ‘Is this guy a locker room lawyer?,’ or they try to find out if he’s ever been a divisive force in the building.”