The San Francisco 49ers have bestowed upon Colin Kaepernick the highly prestigious Len Eshmont Award.
The award, which the team presents to the 49er who “best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont, an original member of the 1946 49ers team,” is given annually and voted on by the players.
Kaepernick’s season-long protest against alleged racial inequality in America apparently “inspired” teammates to name him for the award.
49ers center Dan Kilgore, though initially skeptical of the reasons behind the protests, spoke about how Kaepernick won him over after a team meeting in August. Kilgore told ESPN, “After Kap stated his case today, and seeing where he is coming from, I do stand with Kap when he says ‘enough is enough’ against crime and the violence and discrimination and racism. I believe that enough is enough. But I could see why people would think it’s bad with the national anthem and the military.”
49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith discussed some of the criticism Kaepernick has received. Smith said, “Colin has handled that situation better than anyone could have imagined. It hasn’t been a distraction in our locker room, and it probably helped him open up to a lot of our team and our teammates better. He’s been very open in communication about that as well as football.”
Ironically, the award is given to the player exhibiting the most “inspirational and courageous play,” and to date, Kaepernick’s play has inspired exactly one win in ten starts, and even that one win came by one point against arguably the most dysfunctional franchise in the entire NFL.
Kaepernick obviously received this award due to his “inspirational and courageous activism,” not play. Yet, even then, what’s the scoreboard on that? Colin Kaepernick’s protests this year played a leading role in the NFL’s ratings demise, which hurts the league financially. Specifically it will hurt the hundreds of players in the league who make significantly less than Colin Kaepernick.
So the protests haven’t helped the players. What about the “oppressed?” Have things improved for black people in America since Kaepernick launched his protest? To be fair, the social justice/anti-police movement began before Kaepernick, but he is certainly an extension of that.
Crime increased nationally in America in 2015. The vast majority of that increase came from murder rate increases in major U.S. cities. Politicians and police leadership, labeled as racists by people like Colin Kaepernick have become so fearful that they’ve scaled back their previously aggressive crime prevention tactics, which causes the deaths of more inner city black people.
The true legacy of Colin Kaepernick and those allied with him is the prolonged suffering of those he claims to help by paralyzing those responsible for their protection through fear tactics. Kaepernick’s legacy is that of an ego trip, launched by a quarterback with his best days behind him, and who couldn’t even bother to vote.
If the 49ers want to reward that, well, then I guess we have a reason to abhor them too now.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn