This past Sunday morning on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” there was a discussion regarding Colin Kaepernick and the role players can and should play in societal issues. As argued by analyst Trent Dilfer, on one hand the issues of social injustice and racial inequality against which Kaepernick has spoken out and decided to not stand during the national anthem are massive and important. And he respects Kaepernick’s stance.
On the other hand, Trent Dilfer said that people don’t want to hear about social issues from NFL players. Dilfer argued that the national anthem protests of Colin Kaepernick “disrupted the organization”and “tore at the fabric of the team”. He should not have used the 49ers organization as a pulpit. In other words, Dilfer believes that Kaepernick’s job as a backup QB is to “be quiet”.
Following Dilfer’s argument, Charles Woodson responded by saying, “I keep hearing people saying, just heard you say, there’s a time and a place to do certain things like this, but what’s the objectivity [sic] of any protest? It’s to get maximum exposure for what you’re talking about.”
On FS1’s “Undisputed” Shannon Sharpe also had a very thoughtful and poignant response to Dilfer while Skip Bayless accused Dilfer of having a “plantation mentality”.
In a radio interview on Tuesday with Fitz & Brooks on KNBR 680 in San Francisco Dilfer defended his remarks. Dilfer said he had attempted to refine his views and his words prior to the show on Sunday so he could give his take in a thoughtful way and he was not going to give in to the “politically correct police”. And too many people have focused on the part of his argument where he said the role of a backup quarterback is to shut up and remain quiet.
But then Dilfer decided to double down on this statement. During his spiel on “NFL Countdown” Dilfer mentioned that there was slavery going on in the United States right now. Apparently this is an issue Dilfer feels very strongly about and he compared his views on this issue to those of Colin Kaepernick. The full 21 minute interview can be heard here but the most relevant part is this:
“My wife and I had been introduced to some really disturbing stuff and other social injustices: Childhood slavery in our country. And I’d gone to a couple seminars and presentations where we got really deep in the weeds about this issue. It became a passion of ours to help fight this battle of childhood slavery around the country and I had a very big platform in Seattle and I could have leveraged being a Seattle Seahawk, being an NFL quarterback, done a lot to get that message out there, but I chose not to at the sake of not wanting to disrupt the team and I never want to draw attention to myself, and take it away from Matt, the rest of our team and our preparation to win.”
It’s great that Dilfer feels so strongly about such an important issue. Just evidently not strongly enough to potentially derail a 9-7 football team. If Dilfer had spoken out about child slavery would that record have been worse? All that controversy that would have erupted and the venom spewed in the direction of Dilfer and the Seattle Seahawks from advocates of child slavery. Those arguments that child slavery was a sacrosanct symbol of America. That disrespecting child slavery disrespects the U.S. military and the freedom to practice child slavery for which they continue to fight.
During his initial argument Dilfer acknowledges that he is really in no position to fully understand Kaepernick’s position or why he has taken these specific actions. Trent Dilfer, just stop there.