Collinsworth, the longtime color commentator on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, has a history of foot-in-mouth remarks. Luckily for Collinsworth, he avoided saying anything controversial about Kaepernick, the 49ers quarterback-turned-social justice icon, when the former second-round pick still played in the NFL.
However, in an interview earlier this year, Collinsworth opened up on Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem. Collinsworth admitted he “struggled” with Kaepernick’s decision to kneel.
Colin Kaepernick took a knee in 2016
Colin Kaepernick’s journey from Super Bowl quarterback to out of the NFL is one of the more important stories in NFL history.
Let’s quickly recap what happened. In the summer of 2016, Kaepernick — then with the San Francisco 49ers — originally sat on the bench during the national anthem.
Kaepernick chose not to stand for the anthem as a means of protesting social inequality and police brutality. Instead of sitting that season, Kaepernick took a knee on the sidelines during the anthem.
Other players soon followed in Kaepernick’s footsteps. Some, including 49ers teammate Eric Reid, simply took a knee.
Others in the league raised a fist in solidarity with Kaepernick and his movement.
Kaepernick played well at times that season, throwing 16 touchdowns to four interceptions in a horrible year for the 49ers. The two parted ways in the spring of 2017 for financial reasons, and Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since then.
Colin Kaepernick’s protests remain extremely divisive
Colin Kaepernick has always been blunt about why he took a knee during the national anthem.
Kaepernick did not take a knee to protest the anthem itself, but to send a message about police brutality and social inequality. Over four years later, Kaepernick’s decision to kneel remains divisive.
President Donald Trump has used kneeling as a means of attacking the NFL. Trump called Kaepernick a “son of a b—” during a 2017 speech.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees called kneeling during the anthem “disrespectful” earlier this year. Brees later apologized for his comments.
Cris Collinsworth said he ‘struggled’ with Kaepernick’s protests
The Colin Kaepernick situation has been a dangerous territory for many people on both sides.
NBC announcer Cris Collinsworth wisely waited a few years to share his opinion. In a July 2020 appearance on Pardon My Take, Collinsworth said Kaepernick’s four-touchdown performance against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots — in December cold and rain — is among the greatest games he’s ever seen from a quarterback.
Near the end of that conversation, Collinsworth brought up Kaepernick’s national anthem protests.
“I’ve always struggled with the Kaepernick thing, and I get it. You know, people, they don’t want whatever it is. They don’t want distractions and all the different things.”
Collinsworth concluded his thought by saying, “that night, that guy was as good as any quarterback that I ever saw play the game.”
There were far worse things that Collinsworth could have said, and the 61-year-old announcer is from a different generation. Collinsworth did not expand on why he had struggled with Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee or what specifically he found problematic.