- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 5, 2017

NFL great Franco Harris says there is no way national anthem protests inspired by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick would have caught on in his era.

The four-time Super Bowl champion and man known for the “Immaculate Reception” sat down for a wide-ranging interview with Mediaite’s John Ziegler over the Labor Day weekend. The two talked about the racial strife of the late 1960s and his time at Penn State when today’s Kaepernick-inspired protests came up.

“When [a professional] puts that suit on, it’s not just about him and his position and the things that he wants to back and wants to believe in, because the team has to come first,” Mr. Harris said during the podcast. “If he wants to make statements, make a position, then that’s fine. Go do that. There’s no reason why you couldn’t do that after practice on another platform than doing it with his suit on at the stadium. […] That was his personal position that he wanted to take.”

The NFL Hall of Fame fullback then said that team leaders would have quashed any national anthem protests before Steelers head coach Chuck Noll needed to get involved.

“I don’t think it would have been Chuck,” Mr. Harris said Sunday. “I think that there would have been two guys on our team […] who would have said, ‘Hey.’ […] We had two of the meanest guys in football, who I think would’ve dealt with it that way, and that would’ve been Joe Greene and Jack Lambert.”

Mr. Kaepernick has not been signed with a team since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in March, although his form of protest continues with players throughout the league.

Members of the Cleveland Browns, for instance, refused to stand for the national anthem during an Aug. 21 preseason game against the New York Giants.

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