The kickoff of the 2016 regular season brought us the first Sunday morning pre-game shows. Given the events of the past two weeks, it was also the most prominent opportunity for former players and pundits to discuss Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem protest.
As would be expected, there were plenty of comments, and we saw views from both sides. ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer offered up his take. I’ve embedded the video below, but here is a transcription of the comments:
I think for the most part, the football community has been irresponsible for how we handled it. Because people aren’t tuning into us to hear about what we feel about a lot of these social issues. First of all, what you two said, I do think that’s appropriate. Matthew and I have a very small voice in this. We haven’t experienced what Colin has experienced, what you guys have experienced at times. But I do think the audience also needs to understand how this relates to football, and a team. And I think the beauty of football, that we all miss so much, you guys more than me because you’re just coming out of it, is football’s the ultimate team game. And you want to be a championship teammate, you fully want to be bought in to having your team have the best chance of success, then you put your team above yourself. And no matter how passionate you are, no matter much of a burden you have for social issue, you don’t let it get in the way of the team.
And the big thing that hit me through all this was this is a backup quarterback whose job is to be quiet and sit in the shadows and get the starter ready to play Week 1. Yet he chose a time where all of a sudden he became the center of attention. And it has disrupted that organization. It has caused friction, and has torn at the fabric of the team … And there’s players in our league that are just as passionate about that, but they don’t use the platform that an organization, a team gave them to find it as a pulpit. And I think Colin used very poor judgment in when he chose to make this honorable stand for what he’s passionate about. Because ultimately it tears at the fabric of your team.
Given Dilfer is self-admittedly tight with Jed York and the 49ers, I’m curious if that has impacted his comments about this tearing at the fabric of the team. We’ve heard from some players who said they were initially offended, but a players’ only meeting helped clear some things up. At some point, depending on how this season unfolds, will we hear any leaks about locker room issues? Especially if Kaepernick ever ends up back in the starting lineup.
As for everything else Dilfer had to say, the look on Randy Moss’s face seems to say plenty about what he thinks. We get the start of Charles Woodson’s comments, but the rest is cut off. Dilfer is very much focused on the football impact. He offered up a mention of the “honorable stand,” but this definitely reads like someone who thinks football is a lot more important in life than it probably should be. That’s not to say we shouldn’t enjoy football. But, sometimes social issues need to be pushed further to the forefront.