Not too long ago, a young man came on to the scene who had superlative physical talents. He could run faster and throw harder than most of his contemporaries. He seemed destined to achieve the highest degree of athletic competition, which he did.
Unfortunately, his mental state of mind took over his full concentration and caused him to fall from the pinnacle of athleticism.
We are speaking of course of Colin Kaepernick, the once popular face of the 49ers Football team.
When he was discovered and developed by Nevada Football coach Chris Ault, he was the darling of UNR and the City of Reno. During his college career, I met him on several occasions, especially when he and then-49er coach Jim Harbaugh appeared at the annual Governor’s Dinner in Carson City. Everyone in this area was pleased as punch that Kap had been drafted by the 49ers and that it would be easy to see him compete a short distance from Reno. At one time, I believe that his jersey was a top-seller around the nation.
Unfortunately, just like a star that burns out in the heavens, his fame is diminished and his future does not look bright.
His demise began when he first took a seat during the playing of the National Anthem prior to a 49er game. This quickly changed to him taking a knee instead of sitting. Eventually he was joined by a teammate or two and the practice was soon taken up by players of other NFL teams.
His most egregious act was when he wore a pair of game socks that featured policemen as pigs.
In trying to explain the rationale for his actions, he stated that he was trying to point out the social injustice when it came to the racial divide in this country. The majority of football fans felt that the National Anthem was being dishonored and reacted with boos, burning of their team paraphernalia and boycotting games.
The issue came to a head for Kap when he purportedly opted out of his contract with the 49ers last year. The cover story was that it was his choice, but who in his right mind voluntarily walks away from a salary of millions?
To his dismay, he is now an unemployed football player. No other team has seen fit to hire him as either a starter or back-up quarterback. In retaliation, he recently filed a grievance charge against the NFL stating that owners had colluded to keep him out of the league. Legal scholars have noted that there is no basis for the collusion charge.
At a news conference in the middle of last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell finally was set to speak about the issue after a two-day meeting between owners and players. Unfortunately, Goodell appeared to be sort of a flim-flam man by not giving a statement as to the league’s position on the kneeling issue. He stated that in the exercise of patriotism, the players should stand. He refused to say that players “must” stand for the anthem.
Conversely, the Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, has stated firmly that any player who does not stand during the playing of the anthem will be benched and subject to a possible fine. It will be interesting to see if any Cowboy player is willing to challenge this edict.
It would behoove many of the practitioners of the kneeling stance to consult Webster’s Dictionary as to the exact meaning of the word “should”. The most riveting part of the definition is “obligation”.
Kaepernick’s actions are reminiscent of the social and racial divide that was promulgated by President Barack Obama. His election was supposed to bring everyone together by proving that America could elect a black President. In actuality, we witnessed a further racial divide during his time in office when he invited “Black Lives Matter” leadership to the White House and constantly demeaned Law Enforcement. The current kneeling controversy, like so many issues today, has taken a political bent. President Trump has widely criticized the kneelers while Hillary Clinton has taken the side of the protestors.
Professional Football has emerged as a big business as well as an exciting sport. The one thing that will galvanize owners to do something is the falling support of fans, loss of revenue from sponsor withdrawals and a decrease in TV revenue.
One suggestion that has been made is that television cameras not show the players’ bench if some of those players have been kneeling. This is not likely to happen since the majority of TV broadcasts are on liberal networks. There is the possibility that the FOX Network airing of contests might adopt this strategy.
Seems strange that millionaire athletes would complain about the inequality in the country when the majority of Pro Football players are black.