San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick got some grief from fans last week for wearing a Dolphins hat, and he was defiant in his response. That was probably the wrong tack to take if he wanted to make the issue disappear.
On Monday, Kaepernick was the subject of some fairly harsh criticism on ESPN, where analysts Ron Jaworski and Herm Edwards both said Kaepernick’s decision to wear another team’s gear was unacceptable.
“You’re the face of the football team, you’re the future of the football team, you’re being paid handsomely by the San Francisco 49ers,” Jaworski said. “It’s an immaturity thing, in my opinion. This is a great football player, the ceiling is very high, but this is something you just don’t do as a leader of a football team.”
Added Edwards, “Steve Young and Joe Montana wouldn’t do that. They get it. You’re the quarterback. You are the face of the franchise, and whether you like it or not, on the field or off the field, you’ve got to act that way.”
Now, you might think Jaworski and Edwards are just stirring up a controversy to have something to talk about during the slowest point in the offseason. And there are some ESPN commentators who would do exactly that: If Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith had a discussion about Kaepernick’s hat, I’d figure it was just another lame attempt to “embrace debate,” and I’d change the channel. But Jaworski and Edwards are both straight shooters who don’t talk about things like this just to get attention.
Jaworski and Edwards also both came into the NFL at an earlier time and have old-school mentalities not unlike that of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. Which reinforces the idea that Harbaugh might have something to say about Kaepernick’s hat.