Colin Kaepernick continues to make headlines on Friday for refusing to stand during the playing of the national anthem. Kaepernick and his 49ers teammate Eric Reid took a knee during the anthem prior to San Francisco's final preseason game against the Chargers on Thursday night, less than a week after Kaepernick sat during the anthem prior to a preseason game against the Packers. And after the game in San Diego, Kaepernick also told reporters he plans on donating the first $1 million he makes this season to groups focused on supporting racial equality.
With Kaepernick's name in the news, ESPN continues to devote a majority of their airtime to covering the stories surrounding him, and on Friday morning, ESPN analyst Herm Edwards—who is known for delivering strong takes on the air—appeared on Mike & Mike to give his two cents on the Kaepernick situation. While speaking about Kaepernick for about two minutes, Edwards touched on everything from Kapernick's new hairstyle to his own parents' interracial marriage and how it affected his life and the way he approached the world. Edwards' main point seemed to be that Kaepernick has the right to speak his mind on important issues, and he should use that right accordingly.
You can watch Edwards' take in the clip above or read it here:
Perception can be people's reality, if you allow it. I can remember growing up in the '60s, and the fashion then—that hairstyle he's wearing now—I had that same hairdo. I had that hairdo. And I can remember when you went out in the evening, at that point in time, leather jackets were cool. But the problem was, if you were black and you wore a leather jacket, the optics were 'Is this guy a Black Panther?' Because that's what the Black Panthers wore. And so without even having a conversation, people assume that.
I lived this life. Lived it my whole life. I see it. We're in a better place than we were in the '50s and '60s. Or even when my father was married to my mom, who is a German war bride. They were married! He served in the army—for 27 years. [He] fought in the Korean War and World War II. And because he married a German war bride, he could not get stationed in the south! How about that? Could not get stationed in the south! That's why we ended up in California, to be quite honest.
Interracial marriages, you couldn't go into the South and live there! He served our country—he fought for our country, he was in the army! Okay so, I get it. I get it. I sit here and I get it and I see it. I lived it. And we need to talk about it sometimes.
Colin is taking a step. Because he's an athlete, people say, 'Just be an athlete.' I've always told my athletes this: 'Your occupation doesn't define who you are as a man. You have every right that every other person has on this earth. Regardless of what your occupation is, speak your mind.' And he's done that.
Edwards later talked about a life lesson he received from his old man that relates to the current situation with Kaepernick:
Growing up in the '60s, my father told me, 'Look son,' he said, 'your rights have been fought for. I put my life on the line for you to live in this country so you would have an opportunity, opportunities that I didn’t receive growing up in the south. You have the freedom to speak, you have the freedom to ask questions. You can ask people why. You have the right to do that. I put my life on the line so you could do that. Don’t you ever forget that.'