Colin Kaepernick has emerged into the national spotlight over the last year and a half, and as such, he has had to deal with a range of distractions that come with becoming a celebrity. We've talked plenty about the Miami situation, but on Friday, he had to deal with a disgruntled fan lashing out on Facebook.
CSN Bay Area's Mindi Bach has the full details at her Facebook page, but as would be expected, there is one story that has started to spread that is not actually the full reality of the situation. The basic gist was that on Friday, Colin Kaepernick was at the movies up the road from Turlock with his mom, sister-in-law and a friend. After the movie, two kids belonging to a man in the theater went up to Kap to ask for a picture. The man claimed on his Facebook page the kids went up and Kap "flat out said no." The man then said another kid approached Kap outside the theater, and Kap said no again.
I bring this up because this status has gotten over 9,300 shares (as of Saturday evening), and the comments have included too many fans expressing outrage at this. Facebook comments in general can be a bit sketchy, but if you go into the comments of the picture Mindi Bach shared, there is some serious vitriol.
When I first heard about this, I figured it was just an annoyed fan. But when I saw how much it was being shared (9,300 is a whole ton of Facebook shares), I felt like I needed to figure out what was going on. Kap has gone through the grinder to some extent this offseason, and although this does not appear to have become some kind of national story quite yet, it's the kind of fodder that certain fans will use as proof of something they've concocted in their minds.
I had a chance to get some details on what went down, and it is not surprising that the Facebook status may not have reflected the full details. Kap had spent the previous couple days in Turlock doing sponsor stuff, the charity prayer breakfast, and a host of other obligations. He had the prayer breakfast that Friday, and had to be up at 4 a.m. for the event.
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Once that was wrapped up, he wanted to spend some time with his family. They ended up deciding to catch a movie, and they chose a Friday matinee in hopes that the theater would be pretty quiet and most kids would be in school. They got to the theater, and the management indicated they would keep it all on the down low so the family could enjoy the movie.
When they got into the theater, the person in the Facebook post was in with his kids, and they quickly noticed that Kap was there with his family. They watched the movie, and when the movie wrapped up one of the kids approached Kap for a picture in the dark theater. Colin apologized and said he and his family were in a hurry and needed to leave. But as I understand it, it was not a curt no. I have to think that had he been rude to the kids, Momma Kap would have slapped him upside the head.
After that, Kap and his family were going to leave the theater, and suddenly a crowd had begun to form in the lobby. It's possible the guy in the theater tipped off others and a group showed up. At this point, theater management offered to help Kap and his family get out the back door. When they got out the back door and began hurrying to their car, a woman in a Kap jersey ran toward them. She had a child with her and hollered at Kap for a picture. He again apologized and said no, but did say hi to and wave at the kid. The Kaepernick's got in the car and left, and as they were leaving, the woman cussed at them in front of her kid.
This really should be an absolute non-story, but one person got pissy on Facebook, and suddenly Kap is getting his name dragged through the mud. People are calling him selfish and generally behaving incredibly poorly. People ignore the good he has done, and assume the worst about a man who does take plenty of pictures, and generally does a good job with kids. We know the good that has been presented, but all indications are that he has done so much more that does not get publicized. It's easy to toot your own horn and promote how great you are, but there is something to be said for doing the right thing, and then just moving on.
The reality of the situation is it appears the fan overreacted in this situation. But even if the fan's status had been 100 percent correct, I think there is still a lesson to be learned when it comes to celebrity interactions. Kap is one of the faces of the 49ers franchise, and as such, people are going to approach him. That's just a reality of the fish bowl he now lives in. At the same time, it is disappointing when fans feel a sense of entitlement about getting something from the athlete. I get that fans want to try and get a picture or autograph when they see someone they've watched on television, but when a celebrity is out with family, if they say no for whatever reason, that should be the end of the story.
There might be some disappointment, but this does not suddenly make them a bad person. When it comes to family time, just because we bought a ticket to their game or own their jersey does not entitle us as fans to get what we want in the form of a picture or autograph. I think Kap gets that when he's out on his own, these things are par for the course. But when it comes to family time, my understanding is he is a little more protective. And that is to take nothing from the fact that Kap has done a lot of good, taken plenty of pictures and generally been an upstanding citizen. But hey, that doesn't get people riled up!