Tony La Russa questions the sincerity of Colin Kaepernick in his national anthem protest.
When 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to remain seated for the national anthem this preseason, he touched off what’s still the most divisive topic in sports this year. There’s been no shortage of opinions on either side. Jerry Jones weighed in this week, joining musician Kid Rock and model Kate Upton among others. Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa is the latest to throw his hat in the ring.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Maggie Gray Wednesday, La Russa had some pointed words for Kaepernick. He calls him “disrespectful,” and questions whether his protest is self-serving.
"“I think that’s disrespectful, and I really question the sincerity of somebody like Kaepernick. I remember when he was on top. I never heard him talk about anything but himself. Now all of a sudden he’s struggling for attention and he makes this big pitch. I don’t buy it.”"
La Russa isn’t alone. ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer also criticized Kaepernick last week on “Sunday NFL Countdown,” saying he should “be quiet” and play his position. Kaepernick called those comments “ridiculous” in a USA Today article.
Kaepernick’s form of protest is what has skewed his message, to some. Critics claim sitting during the national anthem is a slap in the face to our troops, but Kaepernick has received support from some troops as well, most notably Nate Boyer.
Protests are going to make people uncomfortable. There isn’t a perfect time or venue to challenge largely accepted norms. Its importance lies in the dialogue it creates, and how to advance the topic of discussion. It’s far-fetched to think Kaepernick would open himself up to this level of criticism just to get some attention.