clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Chip Kelly shut down a columnist who tried to condemn Colin Kaepernick

A columnist was very upset that the 49ers quarterback was answering questions from the press about his protest of racial inequality in America instead of talking about the team's win over the Rams.

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

You'll never believe this, but crusty columnist Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat does not like that Colin Kaepernick is talking about race and oppression in America when he could be talking about very important things like beating the Los Angeles Rams. He's also the same guy who once admonished Kaepernick for such egregious offenses as wearing "his cap backwards and at an angle." Fortunately, 49ers head coach Chip Kelly put the man in his place during Thursday's press conference.

(Here's the full transcript).

"How do you feel when he takes over the locker room," asked the guy who tried to take over the press conference.

Kaepernick didn't try to take over the locker room, as Kelly points out. He answered questions Cohn's colleagues were asking about his decision to take a knee during the national anthem protesting racial injustice and inequality in America. The coach also reminded Cohn of that central fact, shutting him down faster than Kelly's offense can run a play even on its best day.

Cohn's been a long-time critic of Kaepernick, not just his play on the field, but the way he dresses and what issues he chooses to speak out about and how he does that. He's a good example of how some in the media have an irreconcilable idea about what a professional athlete should be. They want players to open up, unless it's something that the columnist doesn't want to talk about.

Look at what he wrote about Kaepernick back in August:

But Kaepernick has benefited from our miserable, rotten society — the one he says fails so many people. Who has benefited more than Kaepernick?

He is a biracial young man who was adopted by white parents and grew up middle class in Turlock. He has been famous a long time. He is earning about $12 million this season and his skills hardly warrant that. He lives a privileged life.

It's hypocritical to dump on a society that made you a prince, especially when you happily accepted that. It's strange to fight for the downtrodden while you live like that prince. Kaepernick has not thought out the obvious contradictions in his position.

His notion that Kaepernick is out of line to speak out about this issue because he was adopted by a white family and is making millions to play football is flat out wrong. Anyone can, and should, speak out when there's injustice. Folks who have a voice can use it to speak up for the voiceless. As Chip Kelly said in response to Cohn: "That's the great thing about this country, isn't it?"

Good on the 49ers coach for shutting this guy down so effectively.