Ron Rivera on Colin Kaepernick: “We have to do what we think is right”

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Panthers coach Ron Rivera grew up in a military family, with a father who spent 32 years in the Army including two tours in Vietnam.

And perhaps because he understands everything the flag represents — including the First Amendment — Rivera said he understood 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s position to not stand during the National Anthem.

“To each his own. Everybody’s going to do it their way,” Rivera told Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “To me, it’s a very personal thing because of my dad, his military background, knowing that his family and my mom’s family served in the military.

“My view is [the anthem] is about honoring the people that served and made the commitment to our country, some who even made the ultimate sacrifice. When I stand, that’s what I’m standing for. I’m standing for the people that came before my father and the people that came after him. . . .

“This is America and people are given freedoms and rights. Whatever he chooses he chooses. So be it. We have to do what we think is right. I think that’s the most important thing. Let’s not forget what this country’s built on, and that’s freedoms.”

It’s not a view every coach would espouse, and already Bills coach Rex Ryan has made it clear he wants his players to stand for the National Anthem. And for many coaches, it’s going to be about the team-building as much as the patriotism, as the guys who make a living in the “ultimate team sport” want all 53 players pulling in the same direction.

70 responses to “Ron Rivera on Colin Kaepernick: “We have to do what we think is right”

  1. And here we go. Wonder how long it will be before black lives matter or Clinton will twist this around and say only racists stand up for the flag. My guess is one year.

  2. Rivera is a great American who understands and appreciates the sacrifices veterans and many ordinary citizens have made to allow people to have the right to express their personal opinions in our incredible democracy.

    Even low life, creeps like Colin Kaepernick

  3. The NFL fines players for not talking to the media, wearing messages on eye black, wearing hats that don’t comply, and scripting touchdown dances. The NFL suspends players regardless if they are proven not guilty in a court of law foer unrelated NFL transgressions. Players health is regularly discussed in public and expected to be shared to the media. A player refuses to stand during the National Anthem at an NFL game, and now the NFL preaches about respecting the rights of its players.

  4. CK has a right to do that, but it’s an empty gesture. Won’t really change anything. My question is, then what have else have you done to make this country better?

  5. We have neither the time nor the inclination to explain our self to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that we provide, and then questions the manner in which we provide it. We would rather he just said thank you, and went on his way, Otherwise, we suggest he pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, we don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.

  6. Kap is a punk, millions of dollars to play football from a country you hate and oh by the way the twice elected president of the united states is African American. Any questions?

    All lives matter chump…

  7. It’s not just the Not Standing. It feels like ever since Jim Harbaugh left–one of CK’s key support systems–that CK has become somewhat unglued. Which, of course, gets exacerbated with multiple injury & surgery challenges. No sarcasm intended, I think he could use a few months of regular sessions with a Sports Psychiatrist.

  8. My ideal solution: ignore Kaepernick entirely. He is less relevant politically than he is in the NFL, and that takes a lot.

  9. The irony is that nobody is talking about the ‘why’ Kap is doing what he’s doing which renders what he’s doing a moot point.

    What WILL be fun to watch is come Saturday ——when Kap is either (a) cut because he looks like a European baseball league player trying to play football now or (b) will be relegated to the 3rd string and deactivate for all games. Here’s the kicker……..SF/SC doesn’t want negative attention affecting a very young team at the beginning of a season —–and home and away fans booing Kap will be directly felt by his teammates. That is when his free speech right becomes a football/business matter. Cutting Kap will be easy for the organization.

  10. The country represented by our flag is what provides the 1st Amendment right to free speech. Without the flag, and the heroes of all colors who have fought to protect its tenets, we don’t have that right!

    Protesting issues is respected, expected, and frankly a duty of citizenship in a democracy, that is the purpose of freedom of speech. But disrespecting our country under this guise lacks complete integrity unless somebody emigrates and renounces their citizenship as well. Ditto for those cowards who burn or stomp on the flag.

    Simple logic, rather than the cliché that ‘the 1st Amendment gives one the right to disrespect the flag’ provides clarity to this (unfortunately) long-debated topic.

    So, Kaep, put your money where your over-privileged mouth is, sport! Move to some socialist mecca like Venezuela, you’ll love it there. Just ask Michael Moore.

  11. It’s certainly a bold move by C.K., and though personally, I don’t agree with the method, I can say I do agree with the message.

    It’s a bold move per the risk of not only losing popularity but the financial benefits that come with such notoriety, i.e., endorsement deals, etc. So I do applaud Kap for something that most are not willing to do and that’s place their personal convictions above a dollar bill.

    I also understand that for real, lasting change to take place, many times you first have to lose in order to win and you first have to give in order to receive. Understanding that sometimes the right thing and hard thing are the same thing.

  12. Should we let pedophiles do what they think is right too? Should we let terrorists do what they think is right?

    Ya know there is nothing wrong with correcting Kaepernicks behavior which is he was wrong…

  13. Agree with Him 100%. Kaep can do what he wants. Now we know what type of person Kaep is, and we’ll never support anything he does. Kaep has pretty much declared he is not American, and because of that he won’t be playing America’s sport much longer (at least not in the NFL).

  14. Well said Riv. Here’s s guy who went to Cal and actually learned something about life unlike the bigoted rednecks in South where he now calls home. We got your back Ron!

  15. Kaeperdink was on his way out before this. And this will just accelerate his departure.
    Hope he has been investing his oppressive salary wisely.

  16. Ron Rivera: Freedom means freedom.

    Rex Ryan: Freedom means it’s mandatory that you stand.

  17. It would be nice if Americans would use their brain and think instead of just blindly worshiping a flag they’ve been programmed to honor no matter what since childhood. FREEDOM…yeah? YEAH RIGHT! #ratm

  18. You don’t have to be from a military family or be military. You have to be American and you have to have some respect. I’m sick of everyone trying to carve out some kind of story that justifies this crap

  19. A very well thought out response Ron.

    However I think Colin is standing up for the people who may have not had such great experiences with “Freedoms.” Like the young Black Man in Minnesota who clearly stated his “Freedom” to conceal/carry and was shot dead. Along with thousands of other examples, encompassing hundreds of ways “Freedoms” of the oppressed are negated. I for one am encouraged by science and the fact that hundreds of Black Men are now experiencing “Freedom” by being exonerated from death row through DNA testing. I chose to and served in the US Armed Forces. Unlike most Black Men of the Vietnam or WWII Era I wasn’t drafted.
    To be honest I elected to serve because I had few other options. I accepted my duties which by virtue did not involve deployment into hostile environments, but if that was my calling I would have fulfilled it. Not because I felt any duty to your “Freedoms” but duty to my consciousness.

    The fear and intolerance of people to even acknowledge that racism and oppression even exist is what baffles me. If we can’t even come to an agreement on that then we can’t even begin.

    I am proud of Colin for having the courage to speak to this issue. Because he is not wrong.

  20. gettingzygiwithit says:
    Aug 29, 2016 9:08 AM
    Agree with Him 100%. Kaep can do what he wants. Now we know what type of person Kaep is, and we’ll never support anything he does. Kaep has pretty much declared he is not American, and because of that he won’t be playing America’s sport much longer (at least not in the NFL).
    ————————–

    YES, THAT! He is free to be a disrespectful, unpatriotic, thin-skinned, ignorant, racist jacka$$. And we’re free to call him that.

  21. CK won’t show respect for the American flag and honor those who have given their lives and limbs and health for this country.

    We will never show him any respect. Ever. And any team that employs him will be treated similarly.

    He can do what he wants and we can do what we want.

  22. He could, if he wanted, find numerous other ways to make his opinions of this country known.

    Not showing respect for the flag and this country isn’t going to do anything positive for his beliefs.

  23. Seems to me (although I am a bit cynical) thAT Kap is doing eveything he can to get the 49ers to release him and this is just one more nudge in that direction. In the midst of his “vying” for the starting job, he has shoulder fatigue; then, while not going to play, he decides (with a black president, and himself making $11 million “playing” a game) he will make a political statement on how rotten this country is. Spoiled hack wanting to get run out – then he will play the “chip on the (injured) shoulder” card and say he was cut for other reasons. What a major league D-Bag.

  24. Agree with Him 100%. Kaep can do what he wants. Now we know what type of person Kaep is, and we’ll never support anything he does. Kaep has pretty much declared he is not American, and because of that he won’t be playing America’s sport much longer (at least not in the NFL).
    ————————————————————–
    “And (we’ll) never support anything he does…” Speak for yourself!

  25. Really, Ron? “We have to do what we think is right.” So everyone who has a problem with some injustice in America can refuse to stand for the National Anthem. North Carolina is a good place to start…after I use the bathroom.

  26. Obviously, Keapernick has the right to sit during the national anthem. And every American has a right to criticize Kaepernick for doing it. I don’t know why the likes of Peter King and others don’t get that. I think the argument laid out in this article that Rivera understands the first amendment better than most because he grew up in a military family is quite specious though.

  27. All Kaepernick did was continue to set race relations back even further. There are plenty of ways to bring attention to a cause. Disrespecting your country’s flag and your country’s national anthem isn’t one of them.

  28. If Kaepernick had been tying his shoes nobody would care if he sat during the National Anthem .. it’s when said “I won’t take pride in the flag of a country that oppresses people of color” even though a “person of color” is the leader of the country and a “person of color” has lead the Justice department for the last 7.5 years.. when asked if he felt personally oppressed Kaepernick said “There have been times when I have been ill-treated, yes “.

  29. It’s not about someone’s right to do it. It speaks to the honor and character of CK and his ingratitude for what he has been able to accomplish in this nation. It’s shameful and Ill-thought-out.

  30. Hey Ron, is that the Vietnam War in which black men were drafted in disproportionately high numbers (11% of population but 41% of GIs) to fight for freedoms and democratic standards they still, in the latter 20th century, did not have at home?

    Get real, people, this country wasn’t built on freedom and justice and democracy but on black slavery and oppression, and the genocide or “reservations” (lite-concentration camps) of Native Americans and theft of their lands.

    In 1776-83 we did not overthrow a tyrannical king, we fought against a parliamentary democracy over the level of taxation to pay for the war that had freed our North America from the tyrannical French king. And even then, we only succeeded because of help of that tyrannical French king!

    Even in the war of 1812, described in our anthem, were the slaves in the “land of the free” as that song claims? We fought in alliance with the French Dictator Napoleon against the democratic & anti-slavery Brits, we invaded Canada and got kicked out.

    America CAN be all the things in the anthem and since the 1960s has been moving that way, but don’t pretend it always has been! Wake up.

  31. Hey Caolinas

    Having a black president and a black quarterback must be really rough on you? Eventually all you old angry white bigots as will die off and our country will be a better place to be!

  32. Sorry Ron…. but you are WRONG.

    Ron says in the article… ““This is America and people are given freedoms and rights.”

    This is wrong. You are not “given” freedom and rights by your Government. You are BORN free and with rights. The Government does not have the right to strip away your freedom – or at least it is not supposed too – and that is the entire point of the US Constitution. It does not give you freedom – it is supposed to protect freedom.

    The pledge says “with liberty and justice for all”.

    The US Federal Govt. exercises daily the right to sieze assets from citizens without ever charging them with any crime. This is done under civil asset forfeiture laws. All the Govt. has to do is say “we think this money is related to drugs” and they can take it. They do not have to offer any proof at all nor does the Govt. have to ever charge you with a crime. If you want to get your money back, you have to sue the Govt. and PROVE that you are not a drug dealer. This my friends is many things but FREEDOM is not one of them.

    This is just one of MANY examples of how freedom is unjustly stripped away from Americans.

    I may not agree with the specific issues Kap may have – but there are clearly enough examples of the US Govt. trampling all over citizens BORN freedom and rights to justify recognizing that what the pledge says is baloney. I won’t recite it either as I consider it insulting.

  33. Having never spent one day as a black man, I am in no position to tell Kaepernick how to address his life experiences. I can question his methods, and can do so without hurling insults at him.

    I think not standing for the national anthem is a disrespectful act, and that there are other, less disrespectful avenues available to him to voice his concern for the racial divide.

    I’ll be watching to see how things unfold when the 49ers visit the Panthers in week 2.

  34. Kap not only is playing terrible, the negative attention he gets for the consequences of voicing his opinion will mean when he gets cut from the Niners in a week or so, no other teams will want anything to do with him.

    Then Kap can do what he thinks is right full time!

  35. The only person who has given the right answer on this. But let the “you better do it” crowd tell it, we live in a dictatorship. As I said previously, he’s misdirecting his protest because the military just carries out the orders, and that’s who you’re disrespecting with this action, but not one point that he made for why he didn’t stand was off base.

  36. Unfortunately, the people who served in Vietnam and “made the commitment to our country” were fighting in someone else’s war – a war that didn’t really concern us at all.

  37. While I don’t agree with Kaepernick, I wonder how many people complaining about this actually stand at home while watching the game on TV. Not very many, I bet.

  38. streetyson says:
    Aug 29, 2016 10:14 AM
    “In 1776-83 we did not overthrow a tyrannical king, we fought against a parliamentary democracy over the level of taxation to pay for the war that had freed our North America from the tyrannical French king. And even then, we only succeeded because of help of that tyrannical French king!”

    Evidently you have never read the Declaration of Independence, which lists MANY offenses by the British King (who still had a LOT of power, unlike today’s figurehead) that Jefferson listed. Offenses included the quartering of troops in civilian quarters, trials by Briish judges instead of juries, etc., in addition to taxation without representation in Parliament. Get a frigging clue! It’s all there in one of the most famous documents in history. Sheesh. What the heck are they teaching in school nowadays?

  39. “My view is [the anthem] is about honoring the people that served and made the commitment to our country, some who even made the ultimate sacrifice.”

    Which is the problem with the anthem. It’s about war and sacrifice but not really about America. Give me America the Beautiful any day.

  40. Colin should prove to us that he isn’t just grandstanding. If it’s that bad here… LEAVE… and please don’t come back…..

  41. Aug 29, 2016 6:50 AM – jchipwood says: And here we go. Wonder how long it will be before black lives matter or Clinton will twist this around and say only racists stand up for the flag. My guess is one year.

    Well, either a) Kaepernick is wrong, or b) standing for the anthem is giving support to oppression.

  42. He has every right to protest. The NFL paying public also has a right to protest.

    The sports media talking heads are already lining up behind him in mass. Saying people need not conform. Wonder where this talk was during the gay marriage debate.

  43. I am trying to think of how African Americans are oppressed…..The truth about these unfortunate shootings of black men by police have proven for the most part to be justified. Are there mistakes made, of course and when one occurs it’s tragic but to say African Americans and other minorities are oppressed is IMHO Opinion is absurd. We have a Black President, the current and past Attorney Generals are African American. BTW they head the JUSTICE Department. African American have blindly supported the Democratic party for the past 60 years and what has improved in the inner cities. Don’t expect change when you continue to support the party who expects your vote but doesn’t earn it. This nation is not a racist nation but racism does exist. If CK wants to see change I suggest you try changing parties and elect candidates who will keep jobs in America and stop the entitlement system which subjugates the population. In the meantime stand up for the best nation in the world.

  44. Sackorpick is just another hypocrite. This is all about getting back at the 49ers for not trading him, trying to force his release.

    Here’s a guy that was given up by his black parents and
    raised well by a young white couple in a life of privilege, allowing him to pursue his dreams and make millions of dollars ………now is railing about oppression.

  45. We do need more sideline cams. Football is rather boring lately. Maybe even a channel dedicated to off the field activity. This would be covered by the off the field channel and the ratings would be great.

  46. He has a right to sit, and he has a right to bear the consequences for his moronic opinions and actions.

    The Niners have a right to cut him.

    Sponsors have a right to not renew sponsorship agreements.

    Fans have a right to boo him and not buy his jerseys. Heck, niners fans have a right to not support this team and find another favorite team.

    God Bless America.

  47. The “Niners” ought to put CK on the “morally unable to perform” list and not even let him suit up but maybe clean the locker room while the team acts as a team.

  48. Over the past 35 years, an estimated 324,000 blacks in America have been murdered by other blacks.

    Racist white cops should be the least of Black Americans’ concerns.

  49. Low islander

    Ya 324,000 blacks are killed by handguns from the NRA and you just look the other way. Oh well blacks killing blacks. How lame are you?

  50. I don’t think Kap is a horrible American or anything, I just think he’s in the mindset of a dumb kid who goes off to college and his professor tells him socialism is great in theory and the US has done and continues to do some pretty horrible things. So he’s confused and he’s got a new gf who is active in politics and so on… He’ll grow out of it to some degree, although maybe not while still on an NFL roster. It’s nothing to get worked up about though, it’s his right. One thing that makes America great is he can have his right to protest, as long as it’s peaceful I’m good with it.

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