Before he addressed the media for 18 minutes yesterday to explain his controversial decision to not stand for the National Anthem, Colin Kaepernick addressed his teammates.
According to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, a players-only meeting was held to give Kaepernick a chance to tell his side of the story, and to give anyone who disagreed with him a chance to tell theirs.
Center Daniel Kilgore, who is white and from Tennessee, said he initially took offense to Kaepernick’s action, but gained a new understanding after listening to him explain why he felt the flag was a symbol of ongoing racism in this country.
“I can see where people would think it’s bad with the national anthem and the military,” Kilgore said. “For me, I’m going to stand there every time. I’m going to think about and honor those who are fighting and those who have fought, my family members, my friends. If Kap decides not to, that’s his decision. . . .
“In seeing his point of view, it does help. It clears the air. It was a good meeting. It was a productive meeting. We’re all under the same understanding that he has that right. And for me, personally, I see where Colin was coming from. I don’t agree with him not standing up for the national anthem, but I do respect and acknowledge the fact that he has the right to decide what he wants to do.”
Wide receiver Torrey Smith has been outspoken on such issues in the past, and said he understands that Kaepernick has no beef with the military. He also understands the wrath his teammate is now subject to.
“I like to talk about these things because we all come from different types of backgrounds,” Smith said. “A lot of people like to act like racism and things like that don’t exist in society. If you believe that, go look at Kap’s Instagram comments or his Twitter comments. He’s being called the N-word and ‘Go back to your country,’ and ‘You don’t like this, go here.’ If you say things people don’t agree with, that’s just the way it goes, especially in the social media era. . . .
“The bad thing about what Kap did, it might offend some people. The positive is, it has people talking about something.”
There’s no doubt it has achieved that goal. The interesting part will be seeing whether enough people will listen to the substance of his message, or simply allow the emotional talking points to wash over them, as the conversation steers beyond football.