Colin Kaepernick created a media firestorm when he chose not to stand for the national anthem last season.
Since then, the quarterback has made one controversial misstep after another but claimed he would stand for the anthem this year to quell concerns about being a distraction.
It hasn’t worked. He remains unsigned and continues to be a distraction with incendiary remarks. And now it appears the protests aren’t going to stop.
Players including Marshawn Lynch and Michael Bennett said they will not stand for the national anthem this year.
With the National Football League’s 2017 preseason already underway, the protests against the United States during the playing of the national anthem are spreading.
Begun last season by former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, the protests consisting of raising a fist, kneeling, or simply staying seated during the playing of the national anthem, are continuing despite Kaepernick’s absence from the league.
NFL columnist for Bleacher Report and former Washington Post sports writer Mike Freeman, reports that up to five players have told him that they intend to continue Kaepernick’s anti-American protests through the 2017 season.
Freeman also noted that some of these players linked the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, to their continued anthem protests.
The Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Bennett and the Raider’s Marshawn Lynch both stayed seated during the anthem at last weekend’s games.
Both Lynch and Bennett have both praised and supported Colin Kaepernick’s actions during the 2016 season.
Without mentioning Kaepernick by name, Bennett recently slammed the NFL for hiring certain players but not others.
“There’s been guys who have criminal records, guys who have been accused of murder, guys who have been accused of rape and domestic violence who are still in the NFL,” Bennett said. “It’s crazy to see this guy not have an opportunity in the NFL. It’s just weird. I mean, some quarterbacks, as we all know, shouldn’t be playing, but they are, and this guy is sitting on the side. We all know why. It’s just hard to fathom that he’s not having a job this year.”
Ironically, the protests could hurt Kaepernick’s chances of getting back into the league because it undermines the theory NFL owners are using Kaepernick as an example of what “stepping out of line” will do.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk was still pushing the claim that Colin Kaepernick is being singled out because he “exercised his Constitutional rights” to speak out.
In Florio’s opinion, Kaepernick is being “blackballed” because he spoke out on politics and the league is punishing him for being a “distraction.” The latter term, Florio insisted, is code for “don’t step out of line.”
But with the growing list of other players continuing the protests this year, not to mention those who joined Kaepernick last year, it would seem that Florio’s point is on shaky grounds at best.
Clearly, the NFL isn’t telling players to end their anti-American protests because the league doesn’t want them to step out of line.
The truth seems to be a different thing. Kaepernick’s problem is not that he merely stood up for his right of free speech, or that he indulged a left-wing, anti-American agenda. Kaepernick’s problem is that his play on the field wasn’t good enough to offset all the public scorn and media attention that his politics attract.
That’s the difference between players like Lynch, Bennett, and Kaepernick.
Who would want to sign someone who caused you headaches without performing at a high level? If you are a coach or a team owner, why would you go out of your way to bring that sort of turmoil to your team?
Again, who would invite that into their locker room?
Marshawn Lynch and Michael Bennett are not marginal players. Kaepernick is. Nobody is flocking to sign a backup quarterback who would undoubtedly bring controversy.
The strangest thing about Michael Bennett’s and Richard Sherman’s criticisms of NFL ownership is that they don’t seem to hold their own organization accountable for not signing Kaepernick.
Are Seattle’s second and third-string quarterbacks better than Kaepernick?
If Bennett and Sherman were truly principled, would they not excoriate the men who sign their paychecks? Or perhaps they realize there are factors beyond protest that explain the unemployment of Colin Kaepernick.