An open letter to NFL owners: It's not too late to do the right thing


An open letter to NFL owners: It's not too late to do the right thing

In your search for someone who might take your team to a Super Bowl you have, for crying out loud, signed the likes of David Olson, Ryan Nassib and Aaron Murray.

After enduring 28 games -- including six shutouts -- in which your teams couldn’t muster as many as 10 points, you’re still settling for rejects as Brandon Weeden and Matt McGloin.

The message is clear that you, the members of the NFL’s power structure, are more content to lose with humdrum-to-wretched quarterbacks you are comfortable with than to join hands with your fabricated “enemy.”

That would be Colin Kaepernick.

You, the billionaires who own NFL teams, have remained committed to avoiding Kaepernick and whining about the revenue you’re losing while ignoring a diplomatic option that would represent a giant step toward a peace for all.

How about standing with Kaepernick? Not necessarily the man, but his principles.

Understand, Kaepernick has no quarrel with the military or the police or the flag. Rather, he is out of work because he is fighting the disease that is social inequality and has inspired dozens of NFL players to take up the cause.

Are you, as owners, so immersed in your anger and fixated on your power that you cannot see you are welcome to join the movement?

That’s not the same as signing Kaepernick, of course, but it’s a much easier move to make. And, in the end, it’s a good bet he’d appreciate it even more.

You could, as a group, create social programs, as Kaepernick has. You could, as a group, donate to worthwhile causes, as Kaepernick does. You could, as a group, take a sober look at racial injustice, as Kaepernick has, and commit to fighting it.

It is never wrong for good citizens to confront such abominations as racism, sexism and ethnic parochialism and it can’t be wrong for you, as NFL owners, to put your dollars were your hearts are.

Is it too much to ask that your hearts be in favor of what is fair?

If Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Chris Long can, in the wake of the national shame that was Charlottesville, start donating paychecks to “promote equality through education,” so can you.

If Houston Texans star J.J. Watt can raise $37 million for the regional disaster that was Hurricane Harvey, imagine how the walls of injustice might crack, at least a bit, under the weight of support from the NFL’s owner/management level.

Had you folks signed on and offered political and financial support months ago, when it was clear Kaepernick was standing on principle, it would have served as proof that you are listening to those who want something better for America.

It likely would have been enough to avoid those bothersome but benign actions such as kneeling in peaceful protest and, therefore, spare you the PR headache this season has been.

Neither you folks nor the players are satisfied, and the segment of your fan base uninterested in equality is downright indignant.

It’s not too late. It’s never too late to do the right thing. If you sign on now, even the most militant players would recognize the kind of progress they hope to achieve whenever they meet with a few members of your group.

Some of you, like Jed York of the 49ers, are standing with Kaepernick and pledging financial support. That’s a start. But most of you continue to moan about the anthem and the flag and the players you don’t believe show proper respect.

Your transparent avoidance of Kaepernick and his cause is a choice. It’s the pursuit of profits over principle. It’s collective power within an industry over the long-term health of the game and, to a degree, the general welfare of the country.

Meanwhile, it gets sillier by the week as your floundering teams sprint past a talented Super Bowl quarterback to rummage through the football junkyard in search of a remnant of a QB.

Will it stay this way? Probably. All signs indicate you will not budge in regards to Kaepernick.

That would be OK, perhaps even to Kaepernick, as long as your support is genuine, your intentions honest and your actions lead to positive purposes that serve us all.

If any of your fans are against that, well, you should feel obligated to decline their dollars out of principle.

What they're saying: Happy Thanksgiving 2017


What they're saying: Happy Thanksgiving 2017

Bay Area sports teams and your favorite players have plenty to be thankful for this year. 

Check out how the teams and players are celebrating Thanksgiving in 2017.

Shanahan: Garoppolo's best football will come next season


Shanahan: Garoppolo's best football will come next season

SANTA CLARA – The two quarterbacks who finish this season with the 49ers are probably going to be the same two quarterbacks the organization carry on their 2018 roster.

So every decision coach Kyle Shanahan makes with C.J. Beathard and Jimmy Garoppolo is being made to consider what is best for those two players.

Shanahan made the expected announcement this week that Beathard will make his fifth consecutive start on Sunday when the 49ers face the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.

Beathard is coming off his best game as a pro. He was a major contributor to the 49ers’ first victory of the season, throwing for 288 yards, throwing two touchdowns and rushing for a score in a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants. His performance seemingly did enough to earn him another start.

Meanwhile, Garoppolo pulled up to 49ers headquarters on Oct. 31 with no prior knowledge of Shanahan’s offensive system. Even as a rookie, Beathard has five more months of experience in the 49ers’ offense than Garoppolo, a four-year professional who made just two starts during his time with the New England Patriots.

“We’ve had C.J. in there for some time,” Shanahan said. “He’s getting more used to it, and I’m getting more used to him. The players are getting more used to him around him. It’s been nice to add a few things each week for him.”

General manager John Lynch reiterated this week he considers Garoppolo the 49ers’ quarterback of the future. Garoppolo is not under contract for next season. If the 49ers are unable to work out a multi-year extension, the club would be expected to designate him as their franchise player to retain him for the 2018 season.

Garoppolo is likely to get some playing time in the final six games of the season, but the 49ers have every reason to take their time in order to give him the best chance at success. On the first three days of the bye week, Garoppolo had a chance to go back to the beginning and learn the basics of the scheme in meetings with quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello and Shanahan.

Shanahan’s scheme is complex with unique verbiage and an abundance of adjustments that are required on any given play. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan took a step backward in his first season in Shanahan's scheme. The next year, Ryan was a runaway MVP winner with a career-high 38 touchdowns and a career-low seven interceptions.

It took Ryan a full season of experience with Shanahan to fully grasp his responsibilities, so it is unreasonable to believe Garoppolo would be able to do much more than just function if he gets onto the field for extended action.

“Jimmy gets more and more ready each week,” Shanahan said. “Is Jimmy going to be the best he can? To me, that’s impossible. He just hasn’t been here long enough, and I think he’ll get an opportunity to be better each week.

“I don’t think we’re going to see Jimmy’s best football, to be fair to him, until next year because that’s what guys need. But C.J. did play his best football last week, which definitely, to me, made the decision easier.”