Is Kap Inspirational?

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS January 16, 2017 # 628 Up next...Is Kap Inspirational?

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS January 16, 2017 #628 Up next… “Is Kap Inspirational?”

After further review… Leonard Charles Eshmont died from hepatitis over 50 years ago. He was a member of the first San Francisco 49er T*E*A*M (1946-1949). After graduating from Fordham University, Eshmont was the 30th pick of the New York Giants. He was traded to the 49ers, as both a running back as well as a defensive back – he played both positions in every game. He scored the first touchdown in 49er history. Because of his inspirational and courageous play, the ‘Niners named an award in his honor: “The Eshmont Award for Inspiration and Courage”.

When I recently read that a current San Francisco player, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, was named the 2016 Eshmont Award recipient, I researched the past winners. The first recipient was quarterback Y.A. Tittle in 1957. Other Eshmont Award winners have included Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, and Jimmy Johnson, who each won twice. The most frequent recipient of this award, which is voted on by teammates, has been eight-time winner Bryant Young. Considering (as well as knowing) all the 50-plus recipients of the 49ers’ most prestigious team award, the choice of Kaepernick was a surprise.

Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem prior to the 49ers’ 2016 NFL games struck a chord of disrespect in many, as it did in me. The TunneySide takes the stance that while Kaepernick has the constitutional right to protest, he did so while being part of a T*E*A*M, which stands as a unit out of respect to the flag and anthem – symbols of our nation, the very entity that gives him and others the “right” to disrespect. Moreover, he was “on-the-clock,” i.e., being paid by an organization which promotes patriotism as part of their pre-game ceremony.

If the 49er organization had taken the position to disagree with Kaepernick’s form of protest, could they have cut him from the T*E*A*M? They surely could. But per his contract, they would have to pay him his salary for that year – a double-digit million-dollar figure! Of course, Kaepernick knew this, and thus, in this case, held the upper hand.

Further, Len Eshmont, and all the other recipients of the award created in his honor, inspired their fellow T*E*A*M (Together Everyone Accomplishes More) members to perform together as one. While all 53 active players, as well as management, must share in the responsibility of the 49ers’ disastrous 2016 season, how important a role did Kaepernick’s refusal to stand play?

Will you log-in your argument for or against Kaepernick’s position?

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3 Responses to Is Kap Inspirational?

  1. Mike says:

    Why aren’t players allowed to express their first amendment rights in the end zone after a touchdown without being flagged for excessive celebration? Respecting the national anthem is part of the game and requires only minimum celebration? If players aren’t held to company standards, why should any rule or law for that matter, be enforced? I think we should model Japanese baseball and start naming professional sports teams for the organizations that own them, not after a city. If there is no loyalty, either way, why claim to be a ‘San Francisco’ 49er?

  2. Dave Whipple says:

    First, you ask for readers to log-in with “an argument for or against Kaepernick’s position”. That is not the issue. Kaepernick’s TEAMMATES voted him as the winner of the Eshmont award. Are you presumptuous enough to say that you know better than them if he is deserving? I submit that they have the clearest rationale and motivation for the choice, given that they are his teammates. The fact that you disagree, is just that: your position.

  3. Thomas Law says:

    It may be strange, but my indecision to take a side in this situation comes down to a pair of socks.
    The “silent protest” doesn’t work so well when you are photographed wearing socks depicting police officers as pigs. That act speaks volumes, and invalidates the “silent” part of your protest. It also shows a blanket disrespect for all people involved in law enforcement, and it makes it nearly impossible from anyone on the other side of the aisle to respect your viewpoint.
    While he is on the field representing the 49ers, he should stand with his team during the anthem if his employers insist. If his contract specifically states that this is required, then there is no question. If it’s a grey area, such as actions “detrimental to the organization”, then there is going to be a legal fight, and I don’t think either party involved wants this. I believe the 49ers are saying “Let the baby have his bottle, we’ll revisit this in the office season”.
    With the Eshmont award, voted on by his teammates, does this not suggest that a plurality of his peers understand and respect his viewpoint? Is he a team player, or are he and the teammates that voted for him the cause for the organization’s troubles?
    I’ve read stories that blame him for the decline in television ratings. The people that were polled, and gave the answer that Kap’s protest as the reason they weren’t watching, what did they think when they saw Ray Rice knockout his girlfriend knowing the NFL had seen it, and given him a two-game suspension? What did they think when Big Ben came out at a press conference and denied raping a woman at a Tahoe hotel? How did they feel the next time he was accused of rape in a separate incident? How did they feel when they realized that the NFL had been ignoring/covering up issues of CTE on players in the NFL?
    For me, I think these incidents (and many more) are far more atrocious than a guy taking a knee during the anthem.

    I don’t think that his protest is doing anything to help the people he wants to represent, and I think he is more than a little confused. I try to be objective and see what he is seeing, but I’m not an NFL celebrity. I think the only thing he and I share is what we see in the media:
    -Eric Garner being choked to death for the crime of selling loose cigarettes
    -Walter Scott being shot five times in the back while running away from police. His crime? Pulled over for broken taillight, bench warrant for unpaid child support.
    -Tamir Rice, 12 years old, being shot by police before their police car was stopped for having an air soft gun
    -George Zimmerman exonerated of shooting Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman pursued Martin after 911 operators told him to stop, Martin defended himself, and ended up dead.
    -Dylann Roof kills nine people in a house of worship. When he’s arrested, the police go get him Burger King.

    I’m not saying I agree with Kaepernick, but I’d like to think that I understand a little bit of where he is coming from.

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