Colin Kaepernick decided to sit for the national anthem, to protest police violence against black people. Somehow, that’s turned into a massive, national controversy, despite the fact that Black Lives Matter has now been making the same basic point for years on end. The NFL has somehow managed to get 1,700 or so active players to never speak on political matters, even when head coaches publicly support Donald Trump.
Peter King of The MMQB devoted most of his weekly column to that controversy, and for some reason got a quote from our very own Austin Seferian-Jenkins on the topic. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end came out with a pretty non-committal statement calling for Kaepernick to take action.
"If you live in America, you have the right to express yourself freely. This is not a Communist country. It's the land of the free and the home of the brave, and people sacrifice their lives so Americans can have the freedom of speech that he chose to use—regardless how people feel about it. But I think if he's serious about the problem, he should invest in the black community. He should invest in education. He should invest in Oakland. People have been standing up and saying things, but we need action.”
Okay, but, raising awareness via a high-profile protest is also an action. You don’t necessarily need to personally be able to address a problem to also pinpoint it, though obviously it would be nice if Kaepernick did so. Then again, maybe he does? I don’t know — many highly-paid players have charitable foundations that do at least some community work.
The most baffling bit of that whole column was some anonymous head coach showing he has no idea how his players actually feel.
“My f---ing guys will stand for the anthem! And they want to,” some clueless dude told Peter King.
Maybe that’s why Kaepernick has become such a flashpoint: if NFL head coaches have no idea that their players actually have political views, why would anyone else?