Ultimately, whatever Colin Kaepernick does will make very little difference. He can stand or sit or kneel during the National Anthem and the 49ers, the National Football League, and the world will go on largely unchanged.
As for Kaepernick, the analysis I read this morning said that he’s likely to be the 49ers back-up quarterback this season. His skills, never among the best in the league, have eroded to the point where athleticism isn’t enough for him to start any more. And he’s making too much money to release.
It’s possible the 49ers will decide otherwise–that he’ll be on the outside looking in when the season starts in a couple weeks. NFL coaches hate distractions. Ask Tim Tebow and Michael Sam, two talented athletes who aren’t quite talented enough to be worth the distraction.
To be clear, I disagree with Kaepernick’s statement. As much as the coverage may hint a different picture, I believe the cops who shielded black protesters during the Dallas shootings are more indicative of the norm than a fat, bigoted, power-hungry sociopath with a badge. I believe that this country, like any other group of human beings, has issues with bigotry and intolerance. But I also believe that although we aren’t perfect, we’ve taken a long look inside and made some very serious commitments to change over the last fifty years. There’s change left, but we haven’t been collectively lazy or complacent about race and acceptance.
To be clear, Kaepernick has the right in this country to sit during the National Anthem. The First Amendment prevents this country from being the kind of place where you’re compelled from standing and pledging eternal fealty out of fear more than devotion.
Ultimately, Colin Kaepernick will move on–sooner than later if the quality of his play doesn’t change.
But the fact that he can make his statement and still be free–and that people can react to that statement and react to the reactions–that’s why I choose to remove my cap and join in singing when I go to sporting events, while also supporting his right not to.