It’s time for Niners to save face, beat Colin cancer

So Colin Kaepernick wants to be the Dalai Lama, huh? Well, God bless him then. If the troubled Niners’ quarterback wants to sit out the national anthem in protest of black oppression here, that’s his prerogative. It’s what makes the US of A so great, warts, open sores and all.

Fact is, the message would be worth a lot more if it came from Andrew Luck or Russell Wilson or another accomplished quarterback who had the respect of the public. Much greater yet if Kaepernick had invested his time and $11.9-million salary to invoke social change.

That’s not Kap, though. He’s the ultimate me guy in the ultimate we sport. Always has been.

But let’s keep politics out of this. Kaepernick gets paid to play football, not to serve as a moral compass, and no amount of smoke can cloud the fact that he sucks at it. That’s the one and only reason why the Niners should cut his grossly overpaid butt sooner than later.

As we saw in his season debut last weekend, when Kaepernick completed two passes for 14 yards, nothing changed since the last time he stunk up Levi’s Stadium nearly one year ago. He’s the same loose cannon who can’t shoot straight. He’s the same dunderhead who can’t read a defense. The only thing he does remotely well is run, but since opponents have zero respect for the other parts of his game, they’ve become wise to his streetball ways.

Worse yet, Kaepernick is a needless distraction who can’t spell t-e-a-m if you spot him three letters. Small wonder that almost nobody in the locker room or front office cares for him by all accounts.

So why, oh why has lame-brained Niners management allowed Colin cancer to eat away at the team for this long?

A few desperate teams inquired about Kaepernick last spring. General manager Trent Baalke scared them away with silly trade demands. If Baalke and company had agreed to pay $4.9 million of his guaranteed salary, the Denver Broncos would have taken him. Cut your losses, sign a free agent QB then select another in the draft.

But in their infinite wisdom, Clueless Trent, coach Chip Kelly and CEO Jed York rejected the offer. So the Broncos looked elsewhere, while the Niners remained content to have Kaepernick and Plain Blaine Gabbert compete at the most important position on the field.

Conventional wisdom says that Kaepernick isn’t long for the team. If they’re smart, the Niners will allow him to bomb out in the preseason finale then cut him, which is what he seems to have wanted all along. That would leave spots for journeyman Christian Ponder — Kelly has liked him for a while — as well as rookie Joe Driskel, who deserves a longer look.

Better yet, the Niners couldn’t help but lose 13 or 14 games in the regular season. That would put them in better position to draft Heisman Trophy favorite Deshaun Watson, who has been on their radar for months.

But since when do the folks in Santa Clara do conventional wisdom?

WHO’S NEXT?: Some believe that Kaepernick’s sit-down strike will result in a one-way ticket out of the league. Bullspit. In the NFL like almost all professional sports leagues, athleticism trumps character. So unless the guy burns an American flag at midfield, his future will be determined by performance and nothing else.

Remember, the Dallas Cowboys are only a phone call way.

JUST ASKIN’: Where’s the line to protest against potheads who are lousy at their jobs yet steal millions do little more than sit on their asses?

BACK TO THE FUTURE: Never mind the hopeless case at quarterback. The more urgent concern is the health of Carlos Hyde, who left the loss against the Green Bay Packers because of a concussion. Because if the Niners have any chance to be competitive once in a while, then their run game has to lead the way, and that starts with their only power back of any real impact.

That was evident on the first play from scrimmage. Hyde took the handoff and pounded straight ahead. When a cornerback moved up quickly to plug the hole, he stuck his surgically repaired foot in the ground, cut sharply to the left then bolted up field. He dragged a tackler to finish a 26-yard thing of beauty.

Last season Hyde played seven games before a fractured left foot required surgery and raised questions about his durability. “Keep Hyde healthy” should be a permanent part of the game plan.

NOT SO FAST: The Giants beat the woeful Atlanta Braves in a three-game series at AT&T Park over the weekend, but Balls will resist the latest temptation to say they’ve turned the corner.

The best news to come out of the 13-4 finale was the return of Madison Bumgarner and the offense. After back-to-back clunkers, MadBum bounced back to pitch seven innings of three-run ball. Five runs in the first four innings made his life easy for a change.

We’ll get a better handle on manager Bruce Bochy’s bunch this weekend, when they meet the first-place Cubs in a four-game showdown in Chicago.

JUST SAYIN’: In his Cal debut, quarterback Davis Webb passed for 441 yards and four touchdowns in a 51-31 victory in Sydney on Saturday night. Yep, Jared Goff was overrated, all right.

Unranked Hawaii piled up 482 yards in the game. Nice to now that coach Sonny Dykes still has the Defense Is Optional clause in his new contract.

Semiretired Marshawn Lynch took reps with Cal’s scout team. Beast Mode should have done them with the Raiders’ first team instead.

Referee Ed Hoculi’s biceps look to be in mid-season form. Better be ready for the NFL season, pal.

Some Thunder fans want to change the name of Durant, Okla., to (Russell) Westbrook, but then the rest of the town would have no balls.

When Westbrook opts out of his contact after the 2017-18 season, Ersanilyasovaville may be next.

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE …: Seattle SuperSonics?

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