I know we were all just dying to find out on November 8th. Ever since NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to make himself a spokesperson for the Social Justice movement rather than master of the forward pass (two roles where his qualifications are dubious at best), an anxious nation waited to find out which candidate would receive the Kaepernick seal of approval. It turns out that we needn’t have worried. I was first tipped off to this by our friend Mickey White, following up on an article she published at Redstate. (Congratulations are in order for Mickey now being a front page contributor at our sister site.) So what was the answer? Who did the NFL star vote for? Well… he was a bit busy on election day it seems. (CBS News)
NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick — who sparked both praise and controversy this season for refusing to stand during the national anthem — says he did not vote in the 2016 election. And that’s made some people across the country furious.
To be fair, Kaepernick has never pretended to like either candidate. After the presidential debate at Hofstra University this fall, the 49ers QB called both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump “proven liars,” stating that Trump’s campaign slogan — “Make America great again” — is fundamentally flawed because America has never been great for people of color…
When Election Day came, however, Kaepernick did not “pick the lesser of two evils.” He didn’t pick anyone at all. So, on Wednesday, just hours after President-elect Donald Trump declared victory in the 2016 election, ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith let Kaepernick have it.
You have to read the linked article to fully appreciate Stephen Smith’s rant on this subject. It goes on far past the point of being uncomfortable and he basically calls on Kaepernick to simply disappear, not just from the social justice stage, but from the NFL.
Would that help the league’s sagging ratings? You never know. Ed Morrissey wrote this week about how Roger Goodell seems to remain out of touch when it comes to their poor showing with the fans. When the media had the chance to press league officials they talked about pretty much everything but the national anthem protests in general and Kaepernick in particular. Rather than addressing the obvious fly in the ointment they amazingly seemed to suggest that perhaps the games were taking too long.
Not only does the name “Kaepernick” not appear once in this article, neither does the word “protest” or any form of it. The Times’ Ken Belson makes not a single mention of the issue. Perhaps Goodell didn’t discuss it at the NYT’s DealBook conference yesterday where these remarks were made. If so, why didn’t the moderator or reporters present bring it up? Or if they did, why didn’t the Times report on that?
The omission is all the more remarkable considering a national poll published by Seton Hall two weeks ago. They asked 841 adults why they were watching less NFL football this season, and literally none of the top responses had to do with game run time. The top reason? The protests of the national anthem:
Even with a couple of tie games and the normal number running into OT, I’ve yet to speak to or hear from a single person who thinks that the games are too long. (Some of them start too early when they’re’ stupidly played in London and some run too late for a second night of the week because of these pointless Thursday games. Monday is enough, guys.) But nobody thinks the games are too long. Baseball, on the other hand, can run forever. Football may be slowed down a bit by penalties and injuries sometimes, but each game is going to be five quarters long at most and the fans have more than sufficient attention spans for that.
The protests have been the largest driving factor and for better or worse Kaepernick has been the face of that issue. But when it came time to vote he decided to stay on the bench. Even if he really felt that both Clinton and Trump were unacceptable, there were other choices on the ballot. Or he could have written someone in. Plus, there were all manner of other races to be decided along with important ballot issues. Kaepernick’s voice was nowhere to be heard on any of those questions.
I’m not a 49ers fan so I really don’t have a stake in who they keep on the roster, but in the larger sense perhaps Stephen Smith is right. Kaepernick has shown himself to be an attention seeking hypocrite and a phony. It might be best to exit stage left and spare us all any more of these antics, perhaps returning the NFL to some of its former stature. (And ratings)