What a difference a knee can make! Thursday night Colin Kaepernick showed a lot of fans something on the field and showed the country even more off the field.
Prior to the game and even earlier in the week, Kaepernick touched base with numerous organizations and advisers and found out the best way to get his message across. He met with team leader and NFL team rep in Eric Reid and they decided together to take a knee during the national anthem rather than sit alone on the bench. Couple that with his alignment with Nate Boyer, the former green beret who played football at Texas and eventually in the NFL, gives his statement validity. Seattle Seahawks defensive back Jeremy Lane, up north in Oakland, did what Kaepernick did in Weeks 2 & 3 of the preseason, and sat on the bench in support of the cause.
As the 49ers-Chargers game started, there were a lot of curious fans wondering if Kaepernick had anything left. He does. There is no question, but the 49ers will still start Blaine Gabbert. He gives them the best chance to win right now, but Kap played himself back into the good graces of Chip Kelly and some 49ers fans. When you play well, it makes the case that much stronger. The historic sport figures that also took civil rights stands like Jim Brown and Muhammad Ali all had other worldly talent. Their abilities put an emphasis on their causes and helped spread the word. There were a handful of plays that reminded us all of the talent Kap has. He delivered last night.
Kaepernick stood up at the podium and took questions that were rarely about football and handled himself a lot better than he did during his days with Jim Harbaugh. Whether Kaepernick was largely muzzled by Harbaugh or Kaepernick was still finding himself, his press conferences these last few days are showing a whole new person. Whether he’s a highly paid athlete or not, his million dollar donation shows he’s making a serious move towards significant change.
Whether Kaepernick knows it or not, the country he’s trying to help and the team he’s attempting to make better and the person he’s hopefully becoming – they’re all a work in progress.
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