It is a wild time in American politics these days, with the fifth Republican debate airing Tuesday evening on CNN. While we do occasionally address sensitive topics (some might call "political"), NN tries to stay away from the third rail of politics when possible. Once in a while however, there is a topic I think is worth broaching.
Last week, Colin Kaepernick posted some graphics on his Instagram addressing Donald Trump's proposal of blocking Muslims from entering the country "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." Several Muslim NFL players have addressed the issue, but Kap joins a small group of non-Muslim players to speak out in some form or fashion (teammate Torrey Smith has been one to tweet out against Trump, and Jarryd Hayne appears to be looking to help Syrian refugees).
I've posted Kap's Instagram photos at the bottom if you have not seen them. I originally was not going to address this topic, but the topic of Donald Trump has expanded a bit. Tom Brady has been a supporter of Donald Trump, showing off one of his campaign hats in his locker, and talking about their friendship. On Tuesday, Brady was asked in an interview if he supports Trump for president in 2016. Brady side-stepped the topic to some degree, saying Trump is a good friend of his, and he supports all his friends in everything they do.
Brady is entitled to support whomever he wants, but clearly he wants to stay out of the details of this matter. Deadspin made a good point, describing Brady as "essentially a show dog when not playing football." He's in a position of significant influence, but seems intent on avoiding anything that might seriously damage his brand with the general public.
Tim Kawakami put together a good discussion about the importance of the timing of this for Kap. The 49ers QB is at the lowest point of his career to date, and does not have much of anything to gain from this. If you look at his IG comments, plenty of people are mocking him either for the general idea of an athlete expressing political beliefs, or the idea that he should be focusing on the playbook more. And of course, there are the general Trump supporters who are shouting down his thoughts on the subject regardless of his position with the 49ers.
A few pictures on Instagram are not going to change the world, but I like seeing Kap speak out on an important topic. Even with his fall down the depth chart, he still has enormous influence. And given the state of the country right now, there is something to be said for speaking out for those who do not have the same strength of voice as others. Athletes do not have to engage in politics, and given the vitriol of people, I understand why they might want to stay out of it. But there is something to be said for taking a stand on a topic, rather than being wishy-washy, and as Deadspin described it, essentially a show dog.
I strongly disagreed with Matt Birk's comments against marriage equality back in 2012, but he was willing to engage in the debate in a very public way. He didn't make some comments and then slink to the background, which is what it feels like Brady is doing with his support of Trump.
Fooch's note: I realize this is a hot-button topic. Please keep comments civil, and do not let the discussion carry into other threads. I'd prefer to focus on the topic of athletes engaging in the political arena, but I realize the discussion may get into the actual politics directly, so moderation will not be heavy-handed.