Trump and Pence have to eat crow on Kaepernick

Donald Trump ranted about how players who knelt for the national anthem before sporting events were sons of bitches and should be fired, aiming most of his ire at Colin Kaepernick who started the practice. In 2017, Trump even sent vice-president Mike Pence, his wife, and his entourage all the way to Indianapolis to a football game just so that they could storm out when some players knelt at the beginning. It was clearly a pre-planned pure publicity stunt to feed red meat to their fans.

Vice President Mike Pence left a football game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday after some players knelt during the National Anthem, saying he did not want to “dignify” the demonstration.

“I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence wrote on Twitter.

The pool of journalists accompanying the vice president was not allowed into the stadium and was asked to stay in their vans. They were told by a staffer that “there may be an early departure from the game,” but were not given any further details.

Some criticized Trump and Pence for the walkout, with Hawaii Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz tweeting, “Wait. This was orchestrated to make a point? That’s not an inexpensive thing to do.”

But it looks like Colin Kaepernick will be coming back to the NFL and that there is going to be plenty of kneeling going on. Commissioner Roger Goodell, who earlier this month apologized for the NFL’s past stance condemning the practice of kneeling during the national anthem, was criticized for not personally apologizing to Kaepernick. But this week he issued a statement saying that he was encouraging teams to sign him.

“If he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it’s gonna take a team to make that decision,” Goodell told ESPN’s Mike Greenberg on a special edition of “SportsCenter” on Monday. “But I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that.”

Kaepernick, who led the San Francisco 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII, hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2016 season when he peacefully protested social injustice and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.

Goodell also expressed his desire for Kaepernick’s participation in the NFL off the field, welcoming his voice on the social issues that plague the country today.

“If his efforts are not on the field but continuing to work in this space, we welcome him to that table and to help us, guide us, help us make better decisions about the kinds of things that need to be done in the communities,” Goodell said. “We have invited him in before, and we want to make sure that everybody’s welcome at that table and trying to help us deal with some very complex, difficult issues that have been around for a long time.

“But I hope we’re at a point now where everybody’s committed to making long-term, sustainable change.”

And it looks likely that some team will sign him.

Trump now says that he would support Kepernick’s return to the league. Does he not think that kneeling disrespects the flag anymore? But now that the NFL has made it clear that they are repudiating Trump, he has to suck it up and pretend that it is all about how good Kaeprnick is as a player. He even shamelessly says that he would “love to see him get another shot.” Yeah, right.

On the same day that the Los Angeles Chargers head coach, Anthony Lynn, said teams would be “crazy” not to look at Colin Kaepernick in the run-up to the new NFL season, Donald Trump says he would support the quarterback returning to the league.

“The answer is absolutely I would. As far as kneeling, I would love to see him get another shot. But obviously he has to be able to play well. If he can’t play well, I think it would be very unfair.”

The 32-year-old Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since the end of the 2016 season, when he began kneeling during the national anthem as a protest against social injustice in the United States. He was then frozen out of the league, but as anti-racism protests have swept the US following the death of George Floyd, there is a feeling teams may be more open to signing Kaepernick, who led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013.

Trump’s comments are a far cry from those he made in 2017, when he called players who knelt during the national anthem “sons of bitches”.

While it is unlikely Kaepernick would secure a job as a starter, he is still in his prime years as a player and would be a strong candidate for a back-up role. Kaepernick has continued to stay in shape during his exile from the NFL, and says he still practices five times a week.

The 2020 NFL season is scheduled to start in September, with training camps resuming in July.

I no longer watch football because of the brain damage to the players but I would definitely watch the opening ceremony just to see Kaepernick and a host of other players kneel and really stick it to Trump and Pence. So what are Trump and Pence going to do since they were so emphatic that they would “not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem”? Not go to or watch any event where there is kneeling?


  1. anat says

    If it weren’t for the pandemic situation, I can see people opposed to Trump getting tickets to his events for some strategic orchestrated kneeling.

  2. DrVanNostrand says

    “…he is still in his prime years as a player and would be a strong candidate for a back-up role.”

    I’m not so sure about the ‘prime years’ part of this. I would argue that most football players are in their physical prime in their late 20s. Some QBs may plateau, or even improve slightly, into their 30s because it’s probably the position where experience is more important than any other. However, Kaepernick hasn’t been getting any of that experience while he’s been out of the game. He’s just been getting further past his physical prime. There’s also the problem that his game was in crisis at the time he was forced out of the NFL. Teams had figured out how to defend him, and he was going to have to find a team and a coach to help him revamp his game. However, he had so much raw talent that I’m 100% certain someone would have picked him up as a backup if it hadn’t been for the orange one. And he’s young enough that someone will probably still pick him up as a backup now, but those years he lost are irreplaceable.

  3. Matt G says

    I’m sure we will hear about how they were always on his side. They were against it until they were for it….

  4. says


    I don’t know a lot about football, though I have watched it. Being interested in the Kaepernick situation I read a few things, and more than one of them said that the coaching change and new offensive strategy/approach wasn’t suited to his skill set. If that’s true, then “opponents figuring out how to defend him” wasn’t the issue so much as “coaches not knowing how to use him”.

    Also, as I understand it, he’s a bit like the guys who have been tearing it up the last couple years with a combination of running and accurate passing, like Mahomes. Defenses haven’t “figured out” how to stop Mahomes, at least not consistently, since he was the winning quarterback at the Superb Owl last year. It may indeed be that coaches better understand how to use such a quarterback, and that Kap could get back to game-winning form.

    This isn’t to dispute the main thrust of your statement. I don’t know enough about football to do that. But that one bit about Kap’s declining production is something that I’d seen specifically addressed before by professional sports journalists who didn’t think the problem was Kap, so I thought I’d mention it.

  5. DrVanNostrand says

    @Crip Dyke

    Different people have different opinions on the matter. I do watch a lot of football. Kaep played in the same conference as the team I follow, and I lived in the Bay Area while he was playing, so I got to watch him play on TV quite a lot. I even saw him tear up my beloved Packers in person in the 2012 playoffs. The coaching absolutely was a factor in his downfall, as was injury. But his production was falling off before that as well. He’s similar to Mahomes, but even at his best, his passing game was vastly inferior to Mahomes, and he needed the right team and the right coach to get him back on track. None of this is meant to detract from his incredible talent, which is why I think it was so tragic that he got run out of the NFL. If I’m assigning arbitrary probabilities to it, I’d say he had better than even odds of coming back and becoming a decent, if not really good, starter again. I’m much less optimistic now, but I’m pulling for him. At least when he’s not playing the Packers.

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