Loverro: A lot more to Kaeper­nick con­tro­versy than an­them.

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - THOM LOVERRO

So they are go­ing to hold a rally on the streets of New York at the NFL of­fices in protest of for­mer 49ers quar­ter­back Colin Kaeper­nick — whose re­fusal to stand for the na­tional an­them be­fore games last year be­came a a source of na­tional de­bate — not hav­ing a job in the league.

The “United We Stand” rally will at­tempt to strong arm NFL own­ers — the same ones who let their lackey, com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell sus­pend the big­gest star in the league, Tom Brady, for four games be­cause of own­ers long list of griev­ances against the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots — into sign­ing Kaeper­nick, who re­mains out of work at this point of the pre­sea­son.

Won’t this con­flict with the move­ment that cel­e­brates young play­ers quit­ting the game be­cause it de­stroys and dam­ages lives?

Are they try­ing to help Kaeper­nick or put him at risk for an old age filled with pain and de­men­tia?

Is this what hap­pens when out­rages col­lide?

It’s doubt­ful that po­lit­i­cal pres­sure is go­ing to force the hands of the men who own th­ese foot­ball teams, who are not used to be­ing told what to do out­side of the board­room. And I’m not sure that all this pres­sure — the pe­ti­tions, the ral­lies — is some­thing that Kaeper­nick, who has said he would now stand for the na­tional an­them if he re­turns to foot­ball, wel­comes.

If he is as smart as peo­ple say, he

knows all of this is prob­a­bly work­ing against him.

And, if he is in­deed as smart as peo­ple say, Kaeper­nick re­al­izes his prob­lem didn’t re­ally start when every­one learned he was qui­etly protest­ing the treat­ment of mi­nori­ties in Amer­ica by re­fus­ing to stand for the na­tional an­them.

He knows it was the socks — the ones that Kaeper­nick wore dur­ing train­ing camp last Au­gust with the im­age of car­toon pigs wear­ing po­lice hats.

Socks de­pict­ing cops as pigs — that was the line that Kaeper­nick crossed that, if there is a con­certed ef­fort to keep Kaeper­nick out of the league, did the dam­age.

Peo­ple on the streets protest­ing po­lice vi­o­lence can wear socks show­ing cops as pigs. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of “The Shield” — the NFL — can’t do that with­out ex­pect­ing se­vere, long-last­ing reper­cus­sions.

“It’s just ridicu­lous that the same league that pro­hibits the Dal­las (Cow­boys) foot­ball club from honor­ing the slain of­fi­cers in their com­mu­nity with their uni­forms stands silent when Kaeper­nick is dis­hon­or­ing po­lice of­fi­cers with what he’s wear­ing on the field,” Bill John­son, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Po­lice Or­ga­ni­za­tions (a coali­tion of po­lice unions and as­so­ci­a­tions from across the coun­try), told USA To­day Sports. “I think the league is in a down­ward spi­ral re­gard­ing their obli­ga­tions to the pub­lic un­der (Com­mis­sioner) Roger Good­ell and this is just an­other ex­am­ple of that.

“It doesn’t seem like he’s thought through or both­ered to ed­u­cate him­self about the way (law en­force­ment of­fi­cers) are out there try­ing to do a very dif­fi­cult job, and the vast ma­jor­ity of the time get the job done right,” John­son said. “The NFL has ex­hib­ited — it’s not just tone deaf­ness, it seems to be an act of dis­like of po­lice, frankly.”

Ev­ery NFL team does busi­ness with lo­cal law en­force­ment. They pro­vide game day se­cu­rity, po­lice es­corts and other ser­vices.

In each NFL city, there’s a po­lice union or as­so­ci­a­tion that is likely a mem­ber of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Po­lice Or­ga­ni­za­tions — 240,000 mem­bers.

I sus­pect those unions, as­so­ci­a­tions and mem­bers have made their feel­ings about Kaeper­nick known to their lo­cal foot­ball teams.

Kaeper­nick tried to dis­tance him­self from the mes­sage on the socks im­me­di­ately af­ter it hit the news, post­ing on his In­sta­gram ac­count: “I wore those socks, in the past, be­cause the rogue cops that are al­lowed to hold po­si­tions in po­lice de­part­ments, not only put the com­mu­nity in dan­ger, but also put the cops that have the right in­ten­tions in dan­ger by cre­at­ing an en­vi­ron­ment of ten­sion and mis­trust. I have two un­cles and friends who are po­lice of­fi­cers and work to pro­tect and serve all peo­ple. So be­fore those socks, which were worn be­fore I took my pub­lic stance, are used to dis­tract from the real is­sues, I wanted to ad­dress this im­me­di­ately.”

Won’t work. It’s like some­one try­ing to ex­plain why they used a racial slur. For cops, there is no ex­pla­na­tion.

I sus­pect the cops in Mi­ami, who helped clear Kaeper­nick of rape ac­cu­sa­tions in 2014, don’t see the nu­ance of the mes­sage he was send­ing with his pig socks.

If it was his re­fusal to stand for the an­them that is keep­ing Kaeper­nick out of the league, why no reper­cus­sions for the num­ber of other play­ers around the league who joined him? Like 49ers team­mate safety Eric Reed, who told espn.com re­cently he his ex­cited about his new role with the San Fran­cisco de­fense. He’s not out of a job.

Kaeper­nick, de­spite his lofty sta­tis­tics last sea­son (16 touch­downs, four in­ter­cep­tions) lost his start­ing job in San Fran­cisco to Blaine Gab­bert in 2015 and for part of last sea­son. Do you think then-coach Chip Kelly did so be­cause of Kaeper­nick’s pol­i­tics? Kelly re­port­edly has such foot­ball tun­nel vi­sion that he prob­a­bly didn’t even know they played the na­tional an­them be­fore games un­til the Kaeper­nick con­tro­versy.

All this comes down to one par­tic­u­lar truth — if you are go­ing to make your own rules, you bet­ter be re­ally good at what you do.

Colin Kaeper­nick sim­ply isn’t good enough to make his own rules.

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