For the last few years I knew the young Butte only as “Kaepernick.” I wasn’t alone in not knowing his birth name was actually Cade.
Young Cade gave himself the nickname, and everyone called him that. His teachers, his classmates, his friends all went along with what had the makings of a great handle.
The boy picked the name because he loved Colin Kaepernick, and this was 2012-2013, when Kaepernick was on top of the world.
Really, what was not to love about Kaepernick? He was a solid quarterback who was a threat to run and throw. He led the 49ers to the Super Bowl, and probably would have won it if it wasn’t for the typically poor NFL officiating at the end of the game.
Kaepernick seemed like an All-American kid. He even had Bible verses tattooed onto his arms.
Then, everything changed.
The quarterback Kaepernick started protesting police brutality by sitting, then taking a knee during the national anthem, and he became the poster child for a divided America. He couldn’t have been more divisive on Facebook if he was a Russian bot.
The apparently former quarterback is a lightning rod for argument.
Also, under no fault of Kaepernick, the 49ers suddenly shifted from a proud franchise to an organization that is hot garbage.
Since the start of the 2014 season, the 49ers are 16-42. Though Kaepernick put up solid numbers last year, the team went 2-14, and the controversial quarterback couldn’t find a job in 2017.
In a year in which the Bears are paying Mike Glennon $18.5 million to look goofy on the sidelines, Kaepernick, who tossed 16 touchdowns and threw four interceptions for an awful team last season, is on the quarterback unemployment line.
And the young boy we called Kaepernick learned a tough lesson. You never name anyone — even yourself — after a living athlete.
I used to say never name after an active athlete, but that had to be amended.
Can you imagine what it must be like for the son of a Bills fan in the 70s to go through life with the name Orenthal James?
O.J. was great when he was running through airports for commercials and appearing in the Naked Gun movies. Then everything changed.
Or even worse, can you imagine being named after Emmett Smith or Jerry Rice after the NFL Hall of Famers appeared on Dancing With the Stars?
If you’re going to name your son or daughter after an athlete, make sure that athlete has left the Earth to play in the big football game in the sky.
Even naming your son after a Yankee legend like Derek Jeter isn’t safe.
My friend who named his son after the shortstop has to feel silly now that Jeter went from being No. 2 on the Yankees to No. 1 Marlin.
For others, however, it is worse, even if the fathers are too simple to know it.
Nowadays, when it seems like another celebrity or public official is exposed as being a sexual predator every day, it is even more dangerous to name your son after, well, anyone.
Surprisingly, Jameis Winston is one of the latest to be accused. An Uber driver says the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback groped her in 2016.
Yes, it is absolutely shocking that a guy who was accused of rape at Florida State could be accused of such a thing as a pro.
What won’t be surprising will be to see players, coaches, officials and fans come out of the woodwork to defend the quarterback and blame the accuser in this latest Winston case.
It seems some people view the trend of women coming forward with allegations of sexual misconduct as the problem, like somehow false allegations severely outweigh the actual sexual assaults.
Some guys, like O.J. (wink, wink), are indeed framed, but, c’mon, guys who don’t attack women don’t get accused of it over and over.
Hey guys, these women feeling empowered to speak up about sexual assault are not the problem. This, believe it or not, is a sign that we might actually be on to a solution.
A big part of that problem is the partisan nature in which we react to the allegations, be it sports or politics.
Winston fans will call the woman a liar, but they will believe the accusations against Ben Roethlisberger. Steeler fans will stand up for Roethlisberger, while pointing a finger at Ezekiel Elliott.
If you have read up on the case of either NFL player and you still support and cheer for that player, then you are a sucker, at best.
It’s kind of like how one side of the political aisle will think that the women accusing the president and a senatorial candidate of sexual assault are lying, while highlighting the accusations made against a former president and current senator. And vice versa.
Sexual assault should not be a partisan or team issue.
Instead of searching for talking points to defend the action of a dirt-bag player on your team, you should be heading to the courthouse to change the name of your son Ezekiel.
Or O.J. Or Jameis. Or Derek. Or Cade.
I have a friend who named his boy after Cade McNown because he thought the UCLA quarterback would turn out to be the savior of his beloved Chicago Bears.
Before his Cade could even talk, it was already clear that the naming was a bad idea. Even Cade McNown would have told you it was a bad idea after his two chill-inducing years in Chicago.
McNown — and my friend — must say prayers of thanks every night that there is an NFL Draft bust named Ryan Leaf that took the heat off the name Cade.
The young Cade I mentioned before no longer goes by “Kaepernick.”
It’s not because he’s such a fan of freedom that he hates how others express their freedom. He’s just a boy, so Cade is not political.
He just no longer wants to be a fan of the dumpster fire that has been the 49ers since they pushed Jim Harbaugh out of town.
Now, the boy formerly known as Kaepernick is following the Chargers because he became a Philip Rivers fan. He goes by Cade, though, not Rivers or Philip.
That is a good thing. Sure, Rivers seems like a decent enough guy, but we won’t know that for sure until he’s playing in the big football game in the sky.
— Bill Foley, who is going to name his next child after Mitch Trubisky, writes a column that appears Tuesday on ButteSports.com. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74