It has been a crazy few days for the San Francisco 49ers, and Trent Dilfer’s comments about Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem protest only added fuel to the fire. Dilfer said the protest and the response from the football community was irresponsible, suggesting from a football perspective, it was not the time or place for Kaepernick to be doing this. He also said it was tearing at the fabric of the team.
There were numerous responses, including from Colin Kaepernick and Eli Harold. On Tuesday, Dilfer made an appearance on KNBR to address his previous comments. He also had to address another topic. There has been a lot of speculation as to the source of Dilfer’s comments that Kaepernick’s protest was tearing at the fabric of the team. That quickly led to discussion as to whether or not he is Trent Baalke’s mouthpiece given the nature of the comments.
In addressing his own comments, Dilfer emphasized that he was speaking strictly from a football perspective. He even pointed to an example of his time in Seattle when he was the Seahawks quarterback. He talked about a cause he worked on related to child slavery, and said he chose not to use his platform as a quarterback to further push his cause. I did not transcribe that whole part, but the link above goes to all the audio. I disagree with much of Dilfer’s contentions, but he offers up plenty for his side of the debate. And it is about debate after all.
When Dilfer addressed the comments about him being a mouthpiece for Baalke, he got really fired up. He took offense, saying it was an insult to his work ethic and what he has done over the years. He acknowledged he has relationships, but does not think that should be viewed as a problem. It is worth noting he has acknowledged occasionally being a 49ers apologist. Whether that makes him a mouthpiece for Trent Baalke is something that we’ll probably never know with absolutely certainty.
I believe it’s an evolving situation, for one. I’m not going to back down from my comments, because I think there was some, if not a little, a lot of friction, if you want to call it that word ... I do believe there was a lot of friction. That doesn’t mean that the leadership on this team hasn’t done an incredible job of turning that into unity as well. I did not get to see a lot last night, so I don’t want to comment on last night, because I just got done with our show, our post-game show from Washington, DC, fighting traffic to get out of there. The first play I saw of the game was in the second half. So I can’t respond to last night. But I love the fact that teams come together, and use something that has been divisive, or could be more divisive, and turn it into unity. So, I think that’s admirable from the leadership of the 49ers. Whether that starts with Chip Kelly or Jed York, actually, I think, initiated it with the donation, to other players that are being great teammates, that are rallying behind Colin, or just rallying behind the sake of, let’s unify around this. I think that’s what great teams do. And that’s something that fires me up. But I don’t back down from the comments that I made, because I do believe wholeheartedly that there was a time not too long ago where this created great friction.
On charges he is Trent Baalke’s mouthpiece:
See, that angers me, and I’m glad you didn’t start there, because this is a topic that shouldn’t really be about me. But that really angers me to the point that I’ve had to talk with our PR people at ESPN. I’ve sought counsel for the last day or so as well. It’s super insulting. And you guys are in the business, you’ve worked hard in the business, you’ve gone a long way. I worked my ass off for nine years as an analyst. I would put my work ethic up against anybody in the industry. I watch hours and hours of film, I have tons of relationships around the league, I have a perspective from playing 14 years, I try to be very thoughtful in everything that I talk about. And to be told that all I am is a mouthpiece for somebody else is really insulting. It angers me. It’s not true. I could go into specifics if you want to do another segment, but it’s a ludicrous claim to say that. I’ve never denied my relationship with Trent or any other people in the 49ers organization. But, since when is it a crime to have friends in organizations? But my no stretch of the imagination am I a mouthpiece for Trent Baalke.
On idea that Baalke is behind comments regarding fabric of the team being torn:
I don’t want to get into an evidence thing. I know why I made the comments, and I know who I had talked to, and again, that’s why I’m going to stand by it. Because, there was a time, and I’m not saying that time isn’t gone, I don’t know, I’m not in the locker room, I’ve always said that. But there was a time where that was absolutely what was going on.