Because you get your “Sports Media Card” revoked without an official Colin Kaepernick column, figured I’d better dash one off. Nobody wants to be revoked.
As of Monday evening, here are a few of the people and/or entities checked in on Kap’s refusal to stand for “The Star Spangled Banner”:
The White House.
Hall of Famer Jim Brown.
Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.
The San Francisco Police Officers Association.
Kap’s college coach, Chris Ault.
Oh, and Curt Schilling.
Oh, and Donald Trump.
Yes, sports fans. We’ve reached DEFCON Trump/Schilling.
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that their reactions mostly mirror yours, from Ault calling Kap’s demonstration “selfish” to Brees calling it “disrespectful” to Brown supporting Kap, saying “he makes all the sense in the world” and he is “100 percent” behind the embattled 49ers quarterback. The POA, as you might imagine, savaged him.
Sherman was nuanced and ultimately supportive; Harbaugh was surprisingly awkward on the whole deal, at first condemning Kap’s “motivation”, then later tweeting that he spoke incorrectly. One could sense he felt recruiting dip after his initial comment.
Then there was Trump, dusting off the Vietnam-era “love it or leave it” stance, and Schilling saying he would have “more than a conversation” with Kap if he were his teammate and saw him sitting out the anthem. Sigh.
Where does that leave us?
Unfortunately, pretty much where we started: with a divided country in which some Americans are willing to discuss a nation’s room for improvement, while others are more willing to say that any discussion about room for improvement must be secondary to uniting behind the flag first.
You pick your side, you dig in, and we wonder if progress is anywhere in the equation.
Meanwhile, Kap’s future as a football player may render this whole thing moot in short order.
His three series as QB last Friday were a flashback of the worst order. Instead of having our palates cleansed by his absence since last Nov. 1, 49ers fans were subjected to the same flavor he left us with last time — bland and ineffective quarterbacking from a once-dynamic athlete.
Unless Kap somehow is visited by the Ghost of Frankie Albert between now and Thursday, one would imagine he won’t make an impact in the final exhibition game at San Diego, leaving the 49ers where?
With an average-on-a-good-day backup QB who is turning Chip Kelly’s first year as 49ers head coach into an essay question on patriotism and the flag.
And while the questions Kap raises are good ones, and worthy of each American looking him or herself in the mirror, the questions he raises aren’t ones that help the 49ers beat the Rams, Panthers or Seahawks in the first three weeks of the season.
That’s why Jay Glazer’s report that Kap will be released from the 49ers at some point this season makes sense. If Kap were Tom Brady, bejeweled and accomplished, taking this stand, you’d imagine the 49ers would find a way to tolerate the distraction. But since Kap is currently a shell of his 2012 self, the distraction is not something the team will feel like soaking in.
It’s too bad it will likely end that way, without a deeper conversation or resolution. It may ultimately become a footnote, like Mahmoud Abdul Rauf in 1996. While with the Denver Nuggets, Rauf spoke out against the meaning of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’, was fined heavily, and compromised by agreeing to not look at the flag during the anthem. In two years, he was out of basketball and believes his political stance was part of the reason.
In the cut-throat world of the NFL, where there isn’t a coach or GM in the world who is interested in a civics discussion, the same could happen to Kap.