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Brittany's Blog: Colin Kaepernick: From free speech to free agent

Brittany Jennings
March 22, 2017 - 11:58 am
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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick says he will no longer sit for the National Anthem, because as of right now he’s out of a job. Kaepernick is now a free agent and has not been picked up by another team. No one wants him. And for good reason.

Four years ago, Kaepernick was a star quarterback playing in the Super Bowl. Maybe he shouldn't have made his anti-American political statement after all.

The Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman recently wrote an article about why Kaepernick hasn’t been able to sign a new contract with another team. What Freeman concludes shouldn’t surprise anyone. Freeman interviewed an AFC team manager. The manager, who requested to remain anonymous, said: “The problem is three things are happening with him.”

What could those three things be? That he’s a washed-up has-been? That he’s a cop hater? That he’s anti-American?

“First, some teams genuinely believe he can’t play,” the manager said.

“Second, some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or Trump will tweet about the team.”

“Third, the rest genuinely hate him and can’t stand what he did. They want nothing to do with him. They won’t move on. They think showing no interest is a form of punishment. I think some teams also want to use Kaepernick as a cautionary tale to stop other players in the future from doing what he did.”

Finally, a manager is saying what we all were thinking: If you cannot stand for the Star Spangled Banner then you can sit for the rest of your career.

Back in August is when this controversy started. Kaepernick didn’t stand for the anthem during preseason games. It continued on during the regular season and other players followed. Kaepernick said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” He went on to say, "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder." Kaepernick also wore socks at practice during the preseason portraying police as “pigs.”

What was extremely disappointing was that the 49ers kept Kaepernick throughout the season. The 49ers management accepted Kaepernick sitting through the national anthem. This spiraled into players from other teams kneeling during the national anthem and rising their fists in solidarity with Kaepernick. There is nothing patriotic about these actions by NFL players. Once you bring politics into the locker room it’s a recipe for disaster.

He should have been cut the second he decided to disrespect the American flag. Kaepernick and many other athletes show how ignorant and self-absorbed they are. They shouldn’t hide behind their First Amendment right to attack their country. These athletes wouldn’t have the right to speak out on any issue if it weren’t for the men and women who fight and die for this country. They wouldn’t have the right to speak their minds if it weren’t for the police officers, protecting their communities and families, many of whom don’t know if they will be returning home to their loved ones after their shift.

There is a time and a place for political talk. But it’s not in the locker room and it’s certainly not on the football field. Fans of sports, including the NFL, turn the game on Sundays to escape reality—and not to be relentlessly reminded of it. We want to be entertained. If we wanted to watch something political we’d turn on CNN or Fox News. Kaepernick shot himself in the foot and alienated the overwhelming majority of football fans.

He was paid millions of dollars to throw a football and play a game—one that is played every day during recess at elementary schools across the country. Kaepernick had the world in the palm of his hands, and he threw it all away. Kaepernick has been exposed for who he truly is: an attention-seeking snowflake. I hope he thinks it was worth it. Because his football career is over.

-Brittany Jennings is Executive Producer of “The Kuhner Report” on WRKO AM-680 in Boston.

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