Tag Archives: Colin Kaepernick

Is it gut-check time for the NFL?

The National Football League needs to re-evaluate a few priorities.

A young man is trying to find a spot with one of the NFL’s professional football teams. He’s a pretty good quarterback. He once led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013.

Then he did something foolish, perhaps even stupid. He decided to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem at the start of football games. Colin Kaepernick was protesting the plight of African-Americans. He decided to make a political statement by declining to stand for the Anthem.

He’s been vilified ever since.

Why the NFL re-evaluation? Well consider a thing or two. The league has allowed actual convicted felons to play football. They’ve been convicted of spousal abuse, sexual abuse, illegal dog fighting, drug peddling. Why, one of the game’s all-time greats — retired linebacker Ray Lewis — once pleaded no contest to a charge in connection with the murder of an individual. He retired recently and has been feted as one of the game’s giants. Huh? Yep.

Kaepernick has been convicted of nothing. He has committed no crime. He merely chose to make a political statement. Yes, I wish he hadn’t done it that way. But that is his prerogative. It’s in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees him the right to do what he did.

Kaepernick was waived by the 49ers. He wants to keep playing football. General managers, team owners and head coaches are afraid of fan reaction, I suppose.

Check out John Feinstein’s excellent column on Kaepernick right here.

Do you remember when a young boxer declined induction into the U.S. Army, citing his religious objection to the Vietnam War? The late Muhammad Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title in 1967 and then denied the opportunity to fight for a living. He was deprived of more than three prime years of his career. Then in 1970, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Ali had been denied his constitutional right of religious freedom.

Ali returned to the boxing ring and, well, the rest is history.

Colin Kaepernick is facing much of the same recrimination. It is unjust. It’s gut-check time in the NFL.

Even chumps have the right to speak out

founders

Colin Kaepernick is a bozo. A chump.

He’s become a poster boy of sorts for all kinds of issues stemming from his decision to remain seated during the playing of the National Anthem before a pro football exhibition game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers.

Kaepernick, a quarterback for the 49ers, said he can’t stand in support of a flag that represents a country that oppresses “people of color.” Kaepernick is half black and half white.

Hmm. OK. I wasn’t aware of Kaepernick’s social conscience. I don’t recall him ever speaking out before. But I guess one has to start somewhere. Thus, Kaepernick chose to make this profound political statement in this highly visible fashion.

I just want to make one comparison with Kaepernick’s demonstration. He reminds me of the flag burners, the goofballs who think burning Old Glory in public to protest this or that cause is going to win them support.

It won’t. It hardly ever does.

However, it’s protected “speech.” The U.S. Constitution allows Americans to make such statements against government policy. Kaepernick chose to mount his grievance with a lousy demonstration of defiance.

He’s not going to win many converts to his cause any more than the flag burners manage to make friends and allies when they do the things they do to protest government policy.

The Constitution, though, gives even chumps like Colin Kaepernick the right to speak out as he has done.

I honor and cherish that right, even if I detest the way some of us exercise it.

Pro QB sits during National Anthem; a big deal? Yes, but …

the New York Giants the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on October 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California. The Giants won 26-3. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

I’ve been stewing for a couple of days over the news of Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the playing of the National Anthem prior to the start of a pro football exhibition game.

Kapernick has been reviled, vilified and called everything but a traitor for refusing to stand.

I am not going to go that far.

I wish the San Francisco 49ers quarterback had stood and paid proper respect to the flag and to the nation where he has earned a handsome living playing a kids’ game. He said he sat because he couldn’t support a nation that oppresses “people of color.”

He could have written an essay for newspapers, he could have tweeted his displeasure with American policy toward “people of color,” he could posted something on Facebook.

But no-o-o-o. He wanted to make a spectacle of himself in a stadium in front of tens of thousands of spectators.

Kaepernick obviously wasn’t talking about himself, as he’s hardly been oppressed, except perhaps by his coaches who cannot decide whether he should be the starting quarterback.

Critics have noted that in many other countries around the world, Kaepernick would have been arrested and jailed for failing to stand while the band played a national anthem.

Let’s understand this: Kaepernick is an American citizen. He refused to stand in this country, which has no law requiring Americans to get off their duffs — if they are able — while we play the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

So, he made a political statement. He’s not the first one to do so. He won’t be the last.

Sure, he’ll likely pay a price down the line. My hunch is that sports apparel shops won’t be selling many 49ers jerseys with Kaepernick’s name and No. 7 from this day forward.

The fact remains, though, that our nation’s belief in free speech and political expression gives all of us — even well-known pro athletes — the right to make fools of themselves.