Anthony Lynn: It's 'Tough' Seeing Colin Kaepernick Lose NFL Career over Protests

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 2, 2020

San Francisco 49ers' Colin Kaepernick kneels during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn has supported Colin Kaepernick's ongoing movement for social justice reform. 

In an interview with LZ Granderson of the Los Angeles Times, Lynn said he has "a lot of respect" for Kaepernick's protesting against racial injustice and police brutality in 2016 and expressed his frustration that Kaepernick has lost his NFL career as a result. 

"I didn't like it," he said. "I know when you look at 32 quarterbacks in the National Football League, Colin could have been one of the 32. If not, he could have been a quality backup. For me being an African American head coach, this is tough."

Lynn also explained that people "completely misunderstood" Kaepernick and what the point of his message was: "People talked about disrespecting the flag...the flag covers a lot—patriotism and civil rights and other things. And Colin was speaking out against the injustice and a lot of people didn't catch on to that because it was happening during the national anthem."

Lynn added, per Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com:

"I've read some good statements. I read Brian Flores from the Dolphins and I agree 100 percent with him. I read [L.A. Clippers head coach] Doc Rivers' statement, and those guys spoke from the heart. I think statements are needed to bring awareness to the situation. But I want to do something too. I don't want to just put [a statement] out there because it's the right thing to do. I want change...so I guess it starts with having this conversation and talking things out. In 1992, I remember watching L.A. burn, and here we are in 2020 and I'm watching it again, and it just hit me, nothing has changed. I haven't done anything to make this a better place for my son. I remember having the talk with him when he was 16 about how to handle police, and then at age 30 I called him up and just had the talk with him again because I'm so scared. I want to do something, but to be honest with you, I don't know what that is."

Kaepernick began his protest during the playing of the national anthem in the 2016 preseason when he was with the San Francisco 49ers. He told NFL.com's Steve Wyche that he wouldn't "stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."

After initially sitting during the anthem, Kaepernick began kneeling over the course of the regular season after discussing his protest with Nate Boyer, a former NFL player and retired U.S. Army Green Beret.

The 32-year-old Kaepernick has been out of the NFL since March 2017. He received a settlement of under $10 million alongside former teammate Eric Reid after the pair filed a grievance alleging the league had colluded to ensure they wouldn't be signed. 

Reid joined the Carolina Panthers during the 2018 season.

In an opinion piece on CNN.com on Saturday, former NFL executive Joe Lockhart wrote, "No teams wanted to sign a player⁠—even one as talented as Kaepernick⁠—whom they saw as controversial, and, therefore, bad for business."

Lynn told ESPN's Jim Trotter he was going to be using the Chargers' virtual offseason workouts, which began Monday, to discuss the ongoing protests across the country in the aftermath of George Floyd being killed last week and calls for social justice reform with his players. 

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