49ers

Dolphins wide receiver: Why isn't NFL brotherhood there for Kaepernick?

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USATSI

Dolphins wide receiver: Why isn't NFL brotherhood there for Kaepernick?

OXNARD — Kenny Stills wants to know why more athletes aren't standing with Colin Kaepernick.

The Miami Dolphins receiver has restated his questions from a series of tweets Tuesday questioning the support across sports for Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback currently out of football after his protests during the national anthem last season.

"I just feel like the league, it's majority African-American, and you would think more people would come to have one of our guys' back," Stills said Wednesday.

"We talk about the NFL being a brotherhood," Stills added. "They give us this presentation every year about the NFL being a brotherhood, and (if) something wrong is going on to one of your brothers, I feel like we should be there to have his back and speak up for him."

Stills spoke after practice in Oxnard, where the Dolphins are spending the week ahead of Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers. They traveled to the West Coast early due to Hurricane Irma's devastation of South Florida.

Kaepernick spoke up against police abuses and racial injustices last season, sparking many players to join him in activism. Those players included Stills, who knelt during the national anthem along with three teammates.

Stills had previously said he won't take a knee this year, but said Wednesday that he might re-evaluate his plans.

"It's definitely something that I thought about, but I continue to think that the protest has been really divisive," said Stills, who grew up in San Diego before attending Oklahoma. "I'm trying to do everything I can to get people on the same page. ... I really want to bring people together, and I'm open to having conversations with people and trying and getting all of us on the same page."

Those aren't just postures to Stills, who has participated in public meetings with police and taken ride-along tours in an effort to find common ground. He is also a key contributor to the Dolphins' offense with 42 catches for 726 yards and a team-leading nine TDs last season. Stills is expected to start for Miami this year after getting a four-year, $32 million contract extension in March.

Stills' tweets Tuesday began with a series of questions, which he said were directed particularly at fellow athletes: "Why aren't more players speaking up or protesting? Do you not believe there's a problem? Do you not believe you can create change? Are you worried about sponsors or your contract? Do you not care?"

Stills asked why the NFL hasn't released a statement condemning unarmed shootings of black people. He also asked why the NFL didn't create "a positive narrative about Kap and what he started," but instead stayed silent.

"How can we expect the league to care about something we're not showing we care about?" Stills added.

Although he got plenty of online responses, Stills doesn't think he got many from his fellow NFL players.

"I was really hoping to reach more players," he said. "I don't think many players wrote me back or responded, so that's what it really was for: Hollering at the players. I wanted to see where their minds were at."

Stills also said he was in contact with Seahawks star Michael Bennett, who claims he was racially profiled and had excessive force used against him by Las Vegas police officers last month.

"We've talked through text message, and we're all just trying to be here for each other," Stills said. "I feel like the narrative is kind of going the wrong way sometimes, and so, just to have each other's back and support each other, and I'm really happy to see the things that he's doing. I was kind of at a loss for words hearing what happened to him after the Mayweather fight, and so (I'm) just continuing to reach out to guys and letting each other know that we have our back, and the NFL actually being a brotherhood like we talk about."

LeBron James: Colin Kaepernick ‘had a vision like Martin Luther King’

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USATSI/AP

LeBron James: Colin Kaepernick ‘had a vision like Martin Luther King’

LeBron James is an avid football fan. He's now an even bigger Colin Kaepernick fan than the sport. Following the Cavaliers' practice on Sunday, James opened up on Kaepernick and his absence from the NFL. 

"I've commended Kap, and for him to sacrifice everything for the greater good for everyone, for what he truly believed in, the utmost respect to him," James said to ESPN. "Obviously he had a vision like Martin Luther King and like some of our all-time greats that people couldn't see further than what they were doing at the point and time. And Muhammad Ali and things of that nature."

James believes the masses don't truly understand what Kaepernick was doing when he first took a knee as a protest against social and racial injustices in America. For his actions, James respects Kaepernick choosing his beliefs over his sport.

"When it's something that's new and it's something that people are not educated about or don't understand what your beliefs are all about, people are so quick to judge and people are so quick to say that what you're doing is wrong," James said. "For him to sacrifice the sport that he plays and to sacrifice the things he's done his whole life because he knew what he believed in, I salute him. I salute and respect that."

Add James to the list of those who believe Kaepernick is being blackballed by the NFL for taking a knee last season. The more games he watches, the more James sees the evidence on the wall. 

"I don't represent the NFL. I don't know their rules and regulations. But I do know Kap is getting a wrong doing, I do know that," James believes. "Just watching, he's an NFL player. He's an NFL player and you see all these other quarterbacks out there and players out there that get all these second and third chances that are nowhere near as talented as him. It just feels like he's been blackballed out of the NFL. So, I definitely do not respect that."

Kaepernick, who recently turned 30 years old, appeared in 12 games for the 49ers in the 2016-17 season. Through the air he completed 59.2 percent of his passes and ended the year with 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. Kaepernick also added 468 yards and two more scores on the ground. 

"The only reason I could say he's not on a team is because the way he took a knee," James said. "That's the only reason. I watch football every Sunday, every Thursday, every Monday night. I see all these quarterbacks -- first-string, second-team, third-team quarterbacks -- that play sometimes when the starter gets hurt or are starters that play. Kap is better than a lot of those guys. Let's just be honest."

For his career, Kaepernick has thrown for 12,271 yards and 72 touchdowns to 30 interceptions. With his speed as a dual-threat quarterback, Kaepernick has also gained 2,300 yards rushing and 13 more touchdowns. 

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

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AP

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. — Blaine Gabbert will get his first start for the Arizona Cardinals when they play the Texans in Houston on Sunday.

Coach Bruce Arians announced the decision after Friday's practice.

Drew Stanton, the starter the last two games, bruised his knee early in the Thursday night loss to Seattle last week. He stayed in the game but has been limited in practice all week.

Arians said it will be a game-time decision as to whether Stanton or recently signed Matt Barkley would be Gabbert's backup.

Gabbert will be making his 41st NFL start. He has a 9-31 record. He signed with Arizona last offseason and was the third quarterback until Carson Palmer broke his arm against the Los Angeles Rams in London and was lost for the season.