Kaepernick should apologize
In Paul Newberry’s commentary (Altoona Mirror, Aug. 19), he argued that Colin Kaepernick’s behavior was justified and validated by the events in Charlottesville and offered puzzlement that the quarterback has not yet found employment in the National Football League.
I cannot disagree more strongly with the first statement and have a rational explanation for Newberry’s puzzlement with respect to the second.
First, I will stipulate that private citizen Kaepernick has the same freedom of speech we all enjoy. He can speak from whatever soapbox he can obtain as a private citizen.
However, he has no right to co-opt the platform of his employer and a captive audience to do so. Specifically, he has no right to take a knee as the Star Spangled Banner is played while representing the San Francisco 49ers in a game played in a stadium of fans and to a TV audience who attended or tuned in to watch a football game.
They did not attend or tune in to watch a political rally or hear political statements.
I will defend Kaepernick’s right, as a private citizen, to express his views, but not to an audience who did not agree to hear it — in advance.
Second, Newberry can’t understand why a quarterback with Kaepernick’s credentials cannot find employment in the NFL since the incident.
In his view, Kaepernick is being blackballed by the NFL. I beg to differ.
What is happening to Kaepernick is economically rational from viewpoint of the teams who might employ his services.
Whatever quarterback Kaepernick may contribute to a team must be weighed against the cost the team incurs by employing him.
The cost includes, but is not limited to, his compensation. If his employment also costs the team ticket and/or merchandise sales, advertising revenue, fan enthusiasm or support, then that dollar amount is added to the cost of employing him.
The validation for my argument is evident. He was released by the 49ers. They must have concluded that his continued employment was too high a price to pay for his services.
Other teams (competitive enterprises who benefit from winning) have all passed on the opportunity to employ Kaepernick.
They also must have concluded that the cost of employing him to be greater than the benefit they would accrue.
Kaepernick can resolve this situation. He just needs to say that he has strongly held beliefs on certain issues, but apologizes for co-opting an NFL game to express them and promise to never do that again.
A prospective employer should expect nothing less.
Criticism should be aimed at media
As a retired Air Force veteran, I am turned off from the NFL and as much as I love both professional and college football.
But I think Colin Kaepernick and others are entitled to their freedom of expression. I also think their protest against police brutality is going a little too far.
However, I put more blame on our ultra-liberal elitist news media for inciting much of what they portray is happening in our inner-cities with their perception of police brutality. And perception, unfortunately, is real in the eyes of the beholder.
But I also think our city law enforcement departments are getting a bad deal. People forget that our police are their to protect all people whether small-town America or large-city America.
I think our large city governments and federal government should take a large percentage of the blame for doing nothing to help the people who reside in the inner cities.
And so I would say to Colin Kaepernick and his followers in the NFL to refocus their freedom of expression on the liberal news media for fanning the flames of what is going on and our city and federal governments for doing absolutely nothing.
Les Hart, Duncansville