Tag: San Francisco 49ers

Kaepernick and the cause

Perhaps its a tribute to how fast things change nowadays or the shortening of attention spans in the social media era, but an issue that was on the front pages a mere six months ago seems appeared to have been resolved and has been confined to the back pages.

It’s been revealed that Colin Kaepernick, who has opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers, will end his kneeldown protest during the national anthem.

Kaepernick said he’s abandoning the protest since it has accomplished its goal, to draw attention to the plight of black Americans.

Of course, the cynics in cyberspace and elsewhere, at least those who are not distracted by the flavor-of-the-day crises in Washington, Indianapolis and, yes, even Bowling Green or Sweden, will point out that he’s dropping the protest mostly because he’ll be on the job market.

Or maybe they just stopped paying attention since there was nothing more to be outraged about over Kaepernick.

There were those that doubted his sincerity, claimed it was a ploy to get into the starting lineup, or an attempt to impress his girlfriend, he shouldn’t be paid attention to because he was not a starter or he would only pay lip service to his beliefs.

But, having missed the bus the first time, why keep waiting for that ride that’s long been discontinued?

We’re seeing efforts to address the issues, not only financially (Kaepernick’s foundation is donating $1 million to community groups, a figure the 49ers matched, according to Rolling Stone), but an increase in social awareness among athletes, no doubt sparked by Tommie Smith and John Carlos in the 1968 Olympics.

In the NBA, for example, Warriors coach Steve Kerr has been quite vocal about social issues, as has star player Steph Curry.

Also, LeBron James was a supporter of Hilliary Clinton during the presidential race, several member of the New England Patriots have announced they will not visit the Trump White House with the rest of the team, and St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler has been adamant about his opposition to Trump’s immigration ban that has since been struck down by the courts.

Even the critics have to admit his protest did not play a role in his play on the field, which was more a product of the flustercluck that’s become the 49ers in the Levi’s Stadium era.

As for concerns he’d be a distration, well, his teammates did give him the Len Eshmont Award for inspirtational and courageous play.

And, needless to say, the donations did show he was putting his money where is mouth was.

Perhaps this is why we are hearing so little about this from the social media outrage machine: He answered all his critics and then some.

And the cause has been advanced.


Making baseball great again

Thoughts for a Thursday …

The Chicago Cubs are World Champions for the first time in 108 years. Quick, someone check the slaughterhouses to see if pigs are taking flight, and check on ticket availability for the NHL expansion franchise in Hell!

This World Series, matching two beleaguered franchises, may very well prove to be a big hit with the Nielsen folks as well, likely the biggest numbers in the 500-channel era.

Yes, a lot of it comes with the story line mentioned above, and both being from large Upper Midwest and some national notoriety to boot, whether through the years the Cubs were carried on WGN or fans taking the movie “Major League” so seriously they sought to have Bob Uecker, who has broadcast Brewers games for years, to call an inning on behalf of the Cleveland Indians.

But then you look at the declining NFL ratings, and if you’re someone who truly loves the game, if this means the National Pastime has become our national passion again as well.

The NFL’s woes? You know them too well:

  • An overexposed product that has become, except for a few elite teams, predictable at its best and mediocre at its worst.
  • You can get a good portion of your house cleaned, or the Sunday paper read, during the long commercial breaks between a touchdown and the other team’s first play on offense.
  • Interminable replay reviews to enforce a rule book that’s becoming more complicated than the tax code.
  • The recent studies linking football and concussions have no doubt taken a toll as well.
  • And while some may cite many players following 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in not standing for the national anthem, that feels like so much social media outrage here. It’s hard to believe a struggling quarterback for one of the NFL’s worst teams has that much sway over TV audiences.
  • The uncertainty surrounding the future of the Oakland Raiders may be a factor as well, at least among Northern California fans. I’m sure more than a few folks in Las Vegas may be watching as well, and not just those holding betting tickets, but enough to make a difference?

Baseball is still the game folks in my demographic grew up with, the one we’ve clung to all these years. And the regular season can be a grind, but there are rewards.

For all the drama of a Super Bowl, NBA playoff series, Stanley Cup finals, Olympic gold medal chase or soccer’s World Cup, can anything top the drama of the past week? If you were to write a movie script based on Game 7 alone, it would be rejected as unbelievable, or they’d suggest a Ricky Vaughn vs. Roy Hobbs showdown to end it all.

Not that baseball is without problems. Length of games and every umpire having a different definition of the strike zone remains an issue, and the addition of replay has created some unintended consequences that must be addressed.

But, there’s approximately 104 days until pitchers and catchers report again to figure it all out. Fire up that hot stove!