Plenty of people have been saying plenty of things about 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in recent days. Some of those things have been smart, and some of them haven’t been smart.
NBC’s Rodney Harrison has become one of the few who said something not smart about Kaepernick to admit it.
Harrison appeared on SportsTalk 790 in Houston on Tuesday. In addressing the Kaepernick situation, Harrison suggested that Kaepernick isn’t black.
“I tell you this, I’m a black man,” Harrison said, via Deadspin. “And Colin Kaepernick, he’s not black. He cannot understand what I face and what other young black men and black people face, or people of color face, on a every single [day] basis. When you walk in a grocery store . . . and you might have $2,000 or $3,000 in your pocket and you go up into a Foot Locker and they’re looking at you like you about to steal something. . . . I’m not saying that he has to be black. I said his heart is in the right place, but even with what he’s doing, he still doesn’t understand the injustices that we face as a black man or people of color, that’s what I’m saying.”
Harrison later addressed the situation on Twitter, with an apology to Kaepernick.
“I should not have called Colin Kaepernick’s race into question during this morning’s radio interview,” Harrison said. “It was a mistake and I apologize. . . . I never even knew he was mixed [race]. . . . I never intended to offend anyone, I was trying to speak about my experiences as a African-American.”
Kudos to Rodney for admitting his mistake and apologizing for it. It’s a good example of how to handle the situations that inevitably arise for people who talk on a regular basis for a living, and who are committed to sharing their beliefs on any topic about which they are asked.
Sometimes, those beliefs are based on an inaccurate understanding of the facts. When that happens, quickly acknowledging the error and owning it is the best way to go.