More than a year later, he still blew it.
Colin Kaepernick still should have stood during the national anthem before a preseason game at Qualcomm Stadium on Sept. 1, 2016, a night the Chargers had dedicated to saluting our military heroes.
Instead, the then-49ers reserve quarterback flipped those soldiers the finger.
Kaepernick knelt, bypassing the opportunity to stand in solidarity with a former Green Beret he had met with before the game, a hero named Nate Boyer.
The silent protest was the first step in a process that has now crescendoed as a nationwide screaming match pitting everything good against all that is evil and vice versa.
Thirteen months ago, that’s what I believed and that’s what I wrote, and I just doubled-down so my view hasn’t changed.
Yet, my perspective has widened.
I was angered by Kaepernick’s actions, his decision shortsightedly putting the focus on himself and not the issues – social inequity, police misconduct – that caused him to protest in the first place.
Just listen to the national narrative as it blares louder than ever today. Is anyone talking about anything other than athletes disrespecting our song, our flag, our country?
I found Kaepernick’s stance unnecessarily divisive, particularly for causes that demand unity, for wounds that couldn’t possibly be healed by being further ripped apart.
At this moment, is there anything about this subject – and, by extension, about this bleeding nation – that feels even the slightest bit united?
No, it’s not simple, wrapping your arms around a topic that has America flailing with disgust, raging with emotion.
And that’s the challenge here: eliminating the emotion from a discussion so emotional that Pittsburgh offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva this week felt the need to apologize – for standing during the anthem.
Villanueva placed his helmet under his arm and his hand over his heart, poised near one of the stadium tunnels in Chicago while his teammates remained off the field and out of sight.
Later, Villanueva said he was sorry for unintentionally giving the appearance of a team divided, that he simply erred by stepping too far into view in order to see the flag.
Realize, this was a military veteran, a former Army Ranger, doing what he felt he needed to do and in a place called Soldier Field, no less.
If anyone was moved by emotion on an NFL Sunday like no other experienced before, it was Alejandro Villanueva, an American who, in this case, was literally…