Throughout the preseason and early portion of the NFL schedule, there has been plenty of debate regarding whether former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick has been unfairly and possibly illegally barred from a chance to land on a new team.
Kaepernick’s advocates have insisted that he isn’t on a roster solely due to NFL owners being leery of fan backlash if he were signed. That was particularly the case in Baltimore, where both the head coach and general manager were ready to sign him, only to have the owner express last minute reservations.
But then the loose cannon that is Donald Trump exploded, and now what looked largely as mainly an internal battle between owners and players took a whole new turn after Trump waded into the situation with a series of unwelcome and belligerent comments.
Trump among other things said any player who emulated Kaepernick’ s protest tactics should be fired. He also had a derogatory statement for Kaepernick, insulting him in language more suitable for a drunken soul stumbling out of a bar at closing time than a public official, let alone a sitting President.
Those intemperate comments followed his decision to revoke the invitation to the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to visit the White House. Steph Curry had already expressed his personal reservation about attending, but in the wake of Trump’s rescinding the invitation, NCAA champion North Carolina also announced they weren’t coming to the White House either.
What Trump has done is generate a lot more sympathy for Kaepernick and more importantly, the causes he has been highlighting. More than 50 players announced right after Trump’s comments that they would be last to act and speak.
His comments were so abusive that even NFL owners felt obligated to respond. Both the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers issued official statements calling Trump out for his actions. Then in a gesture of solidarity, there were scenes of players, owners and coaches joining together on the field.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also had his own condemnation of Trump’s remarks, calling them “disrespectful” as well as inaccurate and unwise. Suddenly people who most likely voted for or supported Trump during the campaign had heard enough.
Bottom line is the owners now recognize that by not giving Kaepernick a fair shot they have made themselves look petty and vindictive. No surprise that a person who thinks ridiculing women and mocking disabled people is appropriate conduct for a public official would think it proper for the President of a country to Ct and speak this way. Hopefully the rest of the country continues to learn how totally out of control this “president” really is, and that NFL owners finally end this farcical situation and truly let Kaepernick back in the NFL, where he belongs.