It doesn’t come close to the Aaron Hernandez arrest. It didn’t involve breaking any laws or hurting anyone. It doesn’t even warrant a suspension from the 49ers organization. Instead, it was just a young quarterback showing his immaturity and disloyalty to an organization.
49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently was photographed donning a Miami Dolphins hat at a Fourth of July party. The picture was subsequently uploaded to Twitter.
As you would expect, seeing their quarterback in another team’s hat rightfully angered 49ers fans, and he received his share of criticism. Showing his lack of media savvy, Kaepernick did not allow the episode to blow over, and felt the need to respond to his critics on Twitter holding the aforementioned hat with the following tweet:
“This the hat y'all mad at? I'm goin wear what I want regardless of what you think, all you need to worry about is the fact that I grind for my teammates and the 49ers! I plan on doin this until they won't let me in the building! #ridiculous #y'allmustbebored”
Wearing another team’s hat is immature, but taunting a fan base and an organization that gave you the opportunity to lead a team to the Super Bowl reaches a whole other level of immaturity.Having never taken a public relations class in my life, I can understand the best thing to do in a situation like this is to shut up.
Following another negative response to this episode, and feeling as if he hadn’t said enough already, Kaepernick felt the need to take to the Internet again with a picture of himself wearing a 49ers hat and a tank top that read “The Golden State”accompanied by a tweet that said:
“It's just swag it ain't never hurt nobody! #GoldenStateofMind”
While this incident is minor compared to other off-the-field incidents, and it didn’t harm anyone or anything (minus his own reputation), the young quarterback’s immaturity reflects some lessons he needs to learn and a generational and societal shift occurring in America.
In a country that is valuing tolerance and diversity more and more, there is the danger of losing loyalty and commitment tocertain people. As a member of the 49ers organization, whether he knows it or not, his actions either help or hurt the organization as a whole.
Kaepernick showed disrespect to the 49ers, and his action wentfurther than merely wearing a hat that he liked. As one of the main faces of the franchise Kaepernick let down those who gave him an opportunity and didn’t uphold his commitment to an organization, his teammates, and fan base.
ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd hit the nail on the head on his Monday radio show, where he opened with a rant against Kaepernick, which evolved into a commentary on society.
“I owe my employer and my fellow employees loyalty and respect,” Cowherd said as he slammed the quarterback’s lack of loyalty to his team, “borders equal principle and principles equal respect.”
ESPN analyst and former head coach Herm Edwards had this to say about Kaepernick.
“Steve Young and Joe Montana wouldn’t do that. They get it. You’re the quarterback. You are the face of the franchise…you’ve got to act that way.”
Tolerance has its proper place, but there are certain ways to act when you are serving in certain roles in society. As a quarterback of an NFL team Kaepernick needs to understand there is more attention on his actions, and he needs to behave in a way that reflects favorably on the 49ers.
Will Kaepernick’s screw-up affect his play on the field or work ethic off the field? Probably not. But it does show the growth and maturity that the talented quarterback needs to undergo yet in his career.
Hopefully Kaepernick learns from this episode, and gets a lesson in loyalty. A fan base that accepted Kaepernick when he became the starter midway through last season deserves more than seeing their quarterback in another team’s apparel and being taunted on Twitter.
Let’s also hope that Kaepernick learns why we have limits and responsibilities within a society. Tolerance and diversity are good things, but you also have a duty to organizations and people who have given you the chance to succeed.
It wasn’t just a hat, Mr. Kaepernick. Learn from it and grow up.