Today Colin Kaepernick is being lambasted on Twitter, and rightfully so.
He committed two sins in this country.
- He didn’t stand for the National Anthem (a BIG No No with Patriotic Football Fans)
- He created a shit storm controversy that will only distract the NFL and the 49ers.
Creating a story that distracts a football team from talking about football is the cardinal sin of the NFL Locker-room. Now, and for the next 7-10 days every other player on the SF 49ers (as well as players on other teams), will have to answer reporters asking about standing for the National Anthem. The 49ers players, coaches, PR team, and Ownership will face endless questions about the team’s values. Questions will pour in from fans, and media alike bombarding everyone in the organization about whether or not Colin, and by extension the SF 49ers support the Military and Veterans of this great nation that have fought, bled, and many times have died defending that flag and what it represents.
Now we live in America, a country built and maintained on the ideas of Liberty and Freedom. Meaning that Colin absolutely has the right to stand or not stand for the National Anthem. No one can honestly say he “can’t” do that. However when you’re an NFL QB making upwards of $20 Million a year to play a game or be in commercials is it really beneficial or smart for you to choose to voice your opinions in a way that is nearly universally offensive to an entire nation? Probably not. Was it worth it to him to cause such an immediately and overwhelming outrage that he won’t bare the repercussions of alone? I can’t say for sure, though I’m sure in the coming days his teammates, coaches, and the team’s front office will surely have opinions on Colin’s choice to choose the field as his soap box to express his opinions.
As mentioned, he has the right to not stand for our flag, but we have the right to speak out against his actions, and so far today millions have done just that. I’ve heard from people who are football fans and others who heard the story word of mouth and I’ve received nearly universal outrage that any American, but especially one who’s so blessed to be paid millions of dollars to play a game would virtue signal to such a small minority of people in America who believe our citizens are truly oppressed.
So how does the 49ers organization handle this? Well they can essentially do anything they choose. His right to not stand does not prevent his employer from taking action against him. That First Amendment only applies to Government censorship of speech or expression, it however doesn’t protect you, me, or Colin from punishments up to and including termination of employment for actions that go against the values of the company/organization we are representing. This didn’t happen off the field, it didn’t happen in the off season when Colin would have just been Colin. This happened at the opening ceremony of an NFL Football Game, an event that he is being paid to be at, and is therefore representing the team and the organization of the SF 49ers. This leaves the 49ers in the tough spot of battling the PR minefield where the QB your Head Coach wants may not be a QB that the fans can support. So SF 49ers, what side will you as an organization come down on? The side of integrity and holding up values, or the side of choosing potential profits hoping this blows over and you can keep selling out Levi’s Stadium? NFL fans and the rest of the country are watching.