NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris says that, on his Steelers’ teams, someone like Colin Kaepernick never would have gotten away with using a football game as a platform to launch a protest. Primarily because players like Joe Greene and Jack Lambert would have put a stop to it
Speaking to Mediaite’s John Ziegler, the 67-year-old Pittsburgh Steelers fullback said that it was perfectly fine for someone like Kaepernick to have their own personal opinions about the problems facing the country, but that it isn’t right to make the playing of the national anthem a platform for those statements.
“If Colin felt that he wanted to make a point — which is fine, which is his right — to get involved with any position, or organization that he really wants. But, when he puts on that suit,” Harris told Ziegler, “when he steps out on that field, now it’s more than just him. It’s his teammates, it’s the NFL, and it’s the fans. And when he puts that suit on, it is not just about him, and his position, and the things that he wants to back and wants to believe in, because the team has to come first.”
Harris also said that it wasn’t fair of Kaepernick to bring his teammates, the NFL, and the fans into his personal protest: “If he wants to make statements, take a position, then that’s fine, absolutely, go do that. But, there’s no reason why you couldn’t do it after practice… on another platform than doing it with his suit on and at the stadium.
“This is his personal opinion that he wanted to take and there’s many platforms he could have just gone and done it. He could have done it anywhere else and no one would have said anything…. but once he put on that suit, once he stepped out on that field, now that represents more than him,” he added.
The four-time Super Bowl champion also noted that in his day Kaepernick wouldn’t have gotten away with such grandstanding.
“We had two of the meanest guys in football who I think would’ve dealt with it that way,” Harris said, “and that would’ve been Joe Greene and Jack Lambert.”
Harris’ main opinion, though, is that one should stand for the anthem despite any personal feelings.
“Sure we have certain social issues that we’ll always be dealing with, but that you stand for the flag and that we’re all behind the flag.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.