San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest of what he deems the wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States drew criticism from former NFL quarterback and current ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer. Yesterday, Dilfer said Kaepernick’s job as a backup quarterback is “to be quiet and sit in the shadows.” Noted sociologist Dr. Harry Edwards weighed in on Dilfer’s comments today on The Jim Rome Show live from the Levi’s Lounge in San Francisco.
“I know Trent. I have a lot of respect for him as an announcer. He most certainly is entitled to his opinion, but as someone who has not had to live with the kinds of circumstances that people of color in this society as a matter, of course, I think he would be best advised, perhaps himself, to take a seat and listen and try to understand what all of these athletes are saying,” Edwards said.
Edwards said Dilfer could learn something from Kaepernick if he listens to his message.
“At the end of the day, at some point, the killing has to stop. We have to be able to sit down and resolve our issues without it coming it to these situations,” Edwards said. “You have whites who are doing all kinds of crazy and insane things like the young man [Dylann Roof] who walked in and shot nine people in the congregation in South Carolina. The police didn’t kill him, they went by and arrested him, they picked him up, they went by Burger King and bought him a hamburger, because he was hungry on his way to jail. You see these kinds of situations all the time, but inevitably, whether you’re sitting, whether walking, whether standing, whether you’re running away, whether you’re coming toward police officers, you see these tragedies of black death at the hands of police officers. This is what these athletes are trying to say.”
Dilfer also said Kaepernick’s actions have “disrupted that organization” and “has caused friction,” and “it’s torn at the fabric of the team.” Edwards, who works with the 49ers organization, says that is completely false.
“Trent is right where he usually is when it comes down to issues of this nature, dead wrong,” Edwards said. “The teams that I have worked with and talked to, the Seattle Seahawks, a couple of NBA basketball teams, another football team on the east coast, these teams are strengthened by these efforts because it forces conversations where based upon their respect, their caring about and for each other they can have conversations that generally would not have come up within a football context.”
Edwards says Kaepernick’s national anthem protest has actually had the complete opposite reaction inside the 49ers’ and other organizations’ locker rooms than what Dilfer said.
“It has actually brought teams closer together,” Edwards said. “So far, from tearing the organization apart and disrupting the organization, it has brought the 49ers team closer together to such an extent that the owner, Jed York, has put a million dollars on the table to match the million dollars Kap is donating to try to resolve some of these issues down on the ground in the community between police and the members of the community. So if the owner putting a million dollars on the table, if the leadership group coming together and having open discussions and so forth about these problems is a sign of things falling apart, then I don’t know what coming together is.”