Wednesday marked the 75th anniversary of the day that continues to live in infamy: The surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Japan.
Speaking there at an event to commemorate the occasion, Admiral Harry Harris, the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, made a reference to the ongoing national anthem protest from 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“You can bet that the men and women we honor today — and those who died that fateful morning 75 years ago — never took a knee and never failed to stand whenever they heard our national anthem being played,” Harris said, via the Associated Press.
According to the account of the remarks and the reaction to them, the words “generated a lengthy standing ovation from the crowd, with people whistling and hooting.”
Although Kaepernick was never mentioned by name, the issue has received sufficient national attention (including an image of Kaepernick kneeling on the cover of Time magazine) to make it clear that the reference was to him.
The moment underscores the challenges Kaepernick will face in his search for a new team, if the 49ers don’t re-sign him before he becomes a free agent. Multiple owners surely will be concerned about the reaction that fans will have if/when Kaepernick joins their team, which necessarily will limit Kaepernick’s options — especially with plenty of other options likely available to teams in 2017.