Colin Kaepernick, the free-agent quarterback now far better known for his protests during the national anthem than for his Super Bowl heroics of years gone by, became the subject of a presidential anecdote on Monday night.
Speaking at a rally in Kentucky, President Donald Trump referenced Kaepernick, apparently with the intention of showing that Trump possesses the power to intimidate even NFL owners.
“Your San Francisco quarterback, I’m sure nobody ever heard of him,” Trump said, presumably sarcastically. “I’m just reporting the news. There was an article today – I love to report the news and then they said I made a mistake. I said, ‘No, the people reporting the news made a mistake, if it’s wrong.'” (In the interests of fact-checking, Kaepernick is not technically a San Francisco quarterback any longer since opting out of his contract.)
“There was an article today,” Trump continued, “that said NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. You believe that?”
The article Trump referenced, published Friday by Bleacher Report, quoted an anonymous AFC general manager, who said, ” … some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or Trump will tweet about the team.”
Per the assessment of this anonymous GM, 10 percent of the NFL’s owners – three to four – might fear a tweet from Trump. On the list of reasons not to sign Kaepernick, that fear apparently ranks well behind rage at Kaepernick and questions about his playmaking ability.
Trump finished his Kaepernick digression with a bit of red-meat populism: “I’m going to report it to the people of Kentucky, because they like it when people stand for the American flag, am I right?” The crowd cheered wildly, and Trump moved on to other subjects.
Meanwhile, Kaepernick and others have raised nearly $2 million and chartered a 60-ton jet to deliver food to famine-ravaged regions in Somalia.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.