Colin Kaepernick can’t win.
Last season, he got ripped by many people for making the decision to take a knee during the national anthem before games. Even though Kaepernick was very clear about why he made the decision to do it—and even though his teammates eventually awarded him with the Len Eshmont Award at the end of the season for exemplifying "the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont, an original member of the 1946 49ers team"—his critics wouldn’t stand for him kneeling during "The Star-Spangled Banner." They saw the act as unpatriotic on Kaepernick's part.
It seems Kaepernick feels as though he made his point last season, though. According to sources who spoke with ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday, he’s not going to take a knee during the anthem anymore. Rather, he has reportedly decided that he will stand before games. Schefter said his sources have told him Kaepernick "no longer wants his method of protest to detract from the positive change that he believes has been created."
The catch here is that Kaepernick is reportedly going to opt out of his current contract next week and become a free agent, which means he will be playing for a new team in 2017, if he plays at all. There are some NFL insiders who believe teams will shy away from signing Kaepernick because of all the attention he received last season.
So of course, that’s led to a lot of backlash against his decision to start standing for the anthem. A lot of people out there think he’s only saying he will stand now because he wants a new team to take a chance on him. His name has skyrocketed to the top of Twitter’s trending list as a result of these kinds of tweets:
Not everyone is crushing him:
But we would like to point out that, whether you’re a fan of what Kaepernick has done over the course of the last year or not, the guy has single-handedly started some really important discussions in this country. He has also managed to take a stand in spite of the hate he has received for doing it. And he’s done it by doing more than just kneeling during the anthem. He has also pledged to donate $1 million to community organizations through his Colin Kaepernick Foundation—and he has stuck to it by donating $100,000 per month to various causes.
Not that we expect any of that to stop some people out there from bashing Kaepernick anyway. But maybe cut him just a little slack?