Keeping its suicidal promise to continue mixing politics with sports commentary, ESPN’s First Take co-host Max Kellerman said former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick wasn’t looking for a protest, it was the NFL by playing the national anthem before games.
Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith were discussing comparisons between Muhammad Ali and Kaepernick. Kellerman’s take was that Ali’s refusal to fight in the Vietnam War and Kap’s refusal to stand for the anthem are one-and-the-same.
“They both were asked to do things that went against their conscience,” Kellerman said. “In this country — in the United States of America — you don’t have to do that. We are free to make our own choices, and if our conscience is bothering us, we can follow that.”
“Colin Kaepernick also did not go looking for a protest. It came to him,” the host added. “He was asked to stand for the national anthem. You do not have to stand for the national anthem. And even if it was a rule that you did, is that Colin Kaepernick injecting politics in the NFL? No. That’s the NFL injecting politics by playing the national anthem and putting pressure on you to stand for it in the first place.”
It says a lot that liberals consider the playing of the national anthem to be partisan politics.
Smith made the point that if you do engage in a political protest like Kap did, you better be prepared for the consequences. Ali faced five years in jail, though he was ultimately saved by a Supreme Court decision. However, his license was revoked, keeping him from earning a living. And now that Kaepernick is a free agent and looking for a team, Smith noted that standing up for what you believe in doesn't mean an easy road ahead.