Colin Kaepernick has made headlines for months now for his decision to protest racial inequality by kneeling during the national anthem. The nation has been split in their reactions to the football player.
On one hand, people like President Obama have defended Kaepernick’s ‘constitutional right’ to protest. On the other hand, many believe this protest has been unacceptably disrespectful.
“I think it’s really dumb of them,” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg commented on the issue. “Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful.”
The 83-year-old then went on to compare Kaepernick’s methods to flag burning.
“I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t look a person up for doing it,” she continued. “If they want to be stupid, there’s no law that should be preventive. If they want to be arrogant, there’s no law that prevents them from that. What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”
Ginsberg isn’t alone in her decision. A recent poll found that 47 percent of Americans disagree with Kaepernick’s method of protest, even though 80 percent support his right to protest.
What do you think?
Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers need each other for the next 11 games, and probably no more.
Kaepernick gets a chance to prove he can still be an NFL quarterback, beginning Sunday on the road against the Buffalo Bills. The Niners (1-4) get a needed shakeup through “one of the only maneuvers we can make,” as coach Chip Kelly put it Tuesday in announcing the decision to start Kaepernick instead of Blaine Gabbert.
And that’s where this rocky relationship — from Kaepernick’s ascent to Super Bowl starter to last season’s benching to an offseason trade request to newfound support amidst his controversial protests during the national anthem — seems destined to end.
The 49ers and Kaepernick’s agents have been working on a restructured contract that, when finalized and signed, is expected to make him a free agent in March, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity, because they weren’t authorized to speak about the new deal, which would delete the last three years (2018 through 2020) of Kaepernick’s existing pact. The remaining season would void automatically if he remains on the roster seven days before the start of the 2017 league year. The new contract also would convert $125,000 in per-game roster bonuses to guaranteed salary and add up to $1 million in playing-time incentives this season, ensuring Kaepernick, 28, makes at least $14.3 million — and more if he keeps the job.
In exchange for freeing him from the rest of his long-term deal, Kaepernick would give up an eight-figure injury guarantee for next season, removing the risk for the 49ers to put him on the field at a time Kelly maintains Kaep isn’t where he was two or three years ago.
“(P)hysically (he) is not where he was pre-injury,” Kelly said Tuesday of Kaepernick, who missed most of the offseason while recovering from shoulder, thumb and knee surgeries, then a chunk of training camp because of a tired throwing arm.
“Before that, he was a little bit bigger, a little bit faster, a little bit stronger. He will admit that. He’s worked as hard as anybody I’ve been around in terms of his rehab.”
Kelly did say Kaepernick has gotten stronger than he was six weeks ago, when he “wasn’t ready from a physical or a mental standpoint,” and the decision was made to start Gabbert, who is currently second from last among starting quarterbacks with a 69.6 passer rating.
The move to start Kaepernick was a football decision, Kelly said, adding that he has not spoken and will not speak to him about the contract. But the timing is telling.
Who knows? Maybe Kaepernick thrives in Kelly’s system and both sides decide the marriage is worth saving. Or the 49ers even franchise tag him if he flourishes.
For now, Kaepernick is playing for his future, most likely in a different uniform. And the Niners are playing for the present, trying to get something out of the paychecks he has been collecting anyway on the bench and turn around another sinking season.