- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Far from being a “distraction” for the San Francisco 49ers as they wrap up the preseason, more than anything else the media’s obsession with Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the playing of the national anthem is a “pain in the neck” to San Francisco players, says former NFLer Joe Theismann.

“How much of a distraction is it, to the team, at a time when you’re supposed to be focused on football,” co-host Brian Wilson asked.

“It’s really about him and not the San Francisco 49ers,” replied Mr. Theismann, noting that professional football players “deal with distractions all the time.”

Mr. Theismann predicted the controversy would quickly fizzle out. “He’s going to continue his protest, and then people are not going to pay attention to it, to be honest with you.”

“As far as a distraction goes, I just don’t think it will be that way for the 49ers. It’s more of a pain in the neck for the players to answer questions than it is a distraction when it comes to playing,” the former Redskins quarterback told the “Mornings on the Mall” program on WMAL Radio on Tuesday.

For his part, the Super Bowl XVII champion quarterback said that he disagreed with Mr. Kaepernick’s form of protest. “There’s no question that there are issues in this country, and he cited a few of them, but it’s all about respect,” Mr. Theismann said. “He’s given the privilege to be able to do exactly what he is doing because of the people that have sacrificed and fought for our freedoms in this country. That’s what our flag represents. That’s what the national anthem represents.”

In an interview with Fox Business Network on Monday, Mr. Theismann dismissed the notion that Mr. Kaepernick “ended” his career with his protest.

“I don’t believe he’s ended his career, I think one of the things we have to understand is society has changed so dramatically that different individuals in different walks of life whether it be in music, whether it be in sports or in politics as you know, have really had the ability to step up and say the things that they want to say and they can continue on with their career,” Mr. Theismann told FBN’s Stuart Varney. “The fact that Colin Kaepernick can still play the position of quarterback will probably be either a starter or a backup in San Francisco still exists. I think he has every right in the world to express his opinion as an individual.”

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