- Thearon W. Henderson/Getty
One day after former Baltimore Ravens quarterback and current ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer said Colin Kaepernick should be quiet because he is a backup quarterback, Kaepernick fired back and called Dilfer’s words “ridiculous.”
On Sunday, during ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown,” Dilfer took umbrage at Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality and social injustice.
“And the big thing that hit me through all of this was this is a backup quarterback whose job is to be quiet and sit in the shadows and get the starter ready to play Week 1. Yet, he chose a time when he became the center of attention. And it has disrupted that organization. It has caused friction and torn the fabric of the team.”
On Monday night, after the 49ers beat the Rams, 28-0, in their season opener – the only shutout of Week 1 -Kaepernick did not hold back when asked by reporters to respond to Dilfer’s words.
“I think that’s one of the most ridiculous comments I’ve heard,” Kaepernick said. The fact [Dilfer] says, ‘You are a backup QB, stay in your place,’ that’s an issue.”
“To me, you are telling me that my position as a backup QB and being quiet is more important than people’s lives. I would ask him to really have a conversation with the families of people that have been murdered and see if he still feels that way. Because I bet that he doesn’t, just because he hasn’t experienced that type of oppression.
“I hope he goes home and really thinks about what he said and how it impacts not just [him], but how it impacts people whose lives are affected by these issues on a daily basis.”
Dilfer’s comments on Sunday were met with criticism almost immediately. Randy Moss, who sat next to Dilfer during his diatribe, made a face, which instantly went viral.
Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News took the criticism of Dilfer a step further, suggesting in a column on Monday that Dilfer was acting as a mouthpiece for 49ers general manager Trent Baalke. (Dilfer and Baalke are well-known friends.)
On Monday night, Kaepernick and teammate Eric Reid both knelt during the national anthem. On the other side of the field, members of the Los Angeles Rams stood with their fists in the air.