Richard Sherman on Colin Kaepernick: 'I think the majority didn't want to hear the message'

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Richard Sherman on Colin Kaepernick: 'I think the majority didn't want to hear the message'

Protesters and police are taking knees in cities across the country right now. As George Floyd's death continues to fuel demands for change, that simple act serves as an acknowledgement that something needs to happen.

Former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the playing of the national anthem in 2016 with similar thoughts in mind.

At the time it fueled a national debate, not about systemic oppression or police brutality — things Kaepernick mentioned to reporters as he explained why he did what he did — but about the military, the flag and the anthem.

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The possibility exists that players will take knees again in 2020. Saints quarterback Drew Brees was asked by Yahoo! on Wednesday how the NFL should respond to players who may take a knee during the anthem this upcoming season.

"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said. "Let me tell you what I see and what I feel when the national anthem is played and when I look at the flag or the United States..."

Brees went on to say how during the playing of the anthem he's "in many cases" brought to tears thinking about his two grandfathers fighting in World War II, about those who've sacrificed serving the country in the military, as well as those who sacrificed to push the Civil Rights movement forward in the 1960s.

Brees added: "Is everything right with our country right now? No, it's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect for the flag with your hand over your heart is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better and that we are all part of the solution."

Brees' desire to see the nation improve and unify is reflective of sentiments that have been shared widely since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis. But his labeling a form of peaceful protest during the anthem as disrespectful has already irked at least one teammate.

At the time of Kaepernick's protests, his initial message was not lost so much as it was ignored, Niners corner Richard Sherman told NBC Sports Boston via text Tuesday.

"He was really straightforward because this has been an issue forever," Sherman said. "I don't think the message got lost, I think the majority didn't want to hear the message because they didn't feel like it impacted their lives so they avoided an uncomfortable conversation."

Devin McCourty told his brother Jason during their Double Coverage podcast that he sensed that message was, four years later, starting to be more widely embraced.

“Look at Kaepernick," McCourty said. "A couple years ago people were going crazy, ‘This guy is this, this guy is that.’ And the irony of a man losing his life because an officer’s knee is on his neck, and now all of a sudden people are like, ‘Aw man, let me actually take the extra second to listen to what Kaepernick said in an interview about why he took a knee and why he did a silent protest.’ And when you listen to it, people are like, ‘Oh, that’s kind of how I feel right now after watching the video.’

"It’s like, yeah I know. Because if you ever stop and listen to what he was doing and his true message, you would have never gotten to that point and you would have never talked about the military, you would have never talked about the flag. You would have understood, he was talking about freedom. He was talking about a bunch of things that, whether you want to name Martin Luther King or Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman, you could go throughout history, Madam CJ Walker, all of these people wanted freedom for someone. Whether it was women, black people, they wanted that, and that’s what [Kaepernick] was talking about. I think it’s been very interesting to see just reactions towards him and how people now all of a sudden think, ‘Oh man, yeah he is a good guy.’ No, he had a pretty good message from the beginning.”

Following his Yahoo! interview, Brees provided a statement later in the day to ESPN.

“I love and respect my teammates and I stand right there with them in regards to fighting for racial equality and justice,” Brees said. “I also stand with my grandfathers who risked their lives for this country and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis.”

Brees' reluctance to support others who feel differently than he does when they see the flag — others who may want to exercise their right to peacefully protest during the playing of the anthem — is going to serve as an indication for some that Kaepernick's message continues to fall on deaf ears.

NASCAR live stream: How to watch Sunday's Cup Series race at Michigan

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NASCAR live stream: How to watch Sunday's Cup Series race at Michigan

Can Kevin Harvick complete the weekend sweep?

NASCAR's Cup Series will get the green flag at Michigan International Speedway again on Sunday afternoon following Harvick's dominant Saturday victory, which marked his fifth win of the 2020 season.

The No. 17 Ford of Chris Buescher will start on the pole for Sunday's Consumers Energy 400. Clint Bowyer, Tyler Reddick, Matt Kenseth, and Aric Almirola round out the top five. Harvick will start in the 20th position.

For the full starting lineup, go here.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

Sunday's race will be 156 laps (312 miles) around the 2-mile speedway. Stage 1 will end on Lap 40 and Stage 2 ends on Lap 85.

Here's how and when to watch:

When: Sunday, Aug. 9, 4:30 p.m. ET.
TV channel: NBCSN
Live stream: NBC Sports

Michael Holley: Remember, Boston sports fans, it could be much worse

Michael Holley: Remember, Boston sports fans, it could be much worse

By now, my kids can predict when their father has a “You Don’t Have It So Bad” lecture on the way. For example, when they complain about cleaning their rooms, I’ve got: “You’re fortunate to have a room to clean; I had to share one small room with my brother and grandfather until I was 16…”

I’ve got one of those for everything. And my exaggerations get better with time.

I thought of that the other day when I watched the Red Sox get swept by the Yankees. This is where I don’t need to exaggerate: the Red Sox have a chance to be worse than Bobby Valentine’s 2012 Sox on the field, but not as reality-show crazy/entertaining off it. (Remember Bobby showing up at the ballpark in Oakland late because he said he wanted to pick up his son from the airport? And then ripping the airport, the ballpark, and the city when he was called on it?)

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They’ve got talented hitters who aren’t hitting, and they’ve got a pitching staff that’s doing what you’d expect from a group with Nathan Eovaldi as its emergency ace.

But with all that said, we really have had it good in Boston, with the Red Sox and every other professional sports team in town. The championships are obvious, but it’s deeper than that. In the last 20 years, accounting for all five pro teams in the region – I see you, Revolution – think about how many times you’ve looked at your favorite team and sensed no pulse or hope.

Before we go team-by-team here, consider what true despair looks and feels like. In the NBA, it’s a New York Knick. The Knicks have missed the playoffs 15 of the last 20 years, and have had 14 different head coaches. Good luck, Tom Thibodeau. It’s not you, it’s them.

In the NHL, the Edmonton Oilers have an enviable four-out-of-six streak. That is, from 2010 until 2015, they had the number one overall pick four times in those six seasons.

And as challenged as the Red Sox are right now, let an Orioles fan tell you about a real struggle. Baltimore had a dozen consecutive losing seasons, including a six-year run in which the team lost at least 92 games each year.

That’s the context. Now here’s a sampling of Boston’s worst of the past 20 years.

New England Patriots: All right, I had to start here. I recently had a conversation in which I tried to recall the exact order of the Patriots’ nine Super Bowl sites. I should have punched myself in the face for that smugness. The one bad season was 2000, Bill Belichick’s first in New England. Anything else that makes the list, including last season’s one-and-done, is nitpicking.

Boston Bruins: I nominate the 2005-2006 season. This is still a sore subject for Mike O’Connell, who argued with Brian Burke as recently as April over a 15-year-old trade. The B’s dealt Joe Thornton to San Jose (Burke claims his Anaheim team offered far more than Boston’s Marco Sturm-Brad Stuart-Wayne Primeau return), and Thornton won the Hart Trophy that same season.

A couple other surprises about that year: it’s one of the two losing seasons the B’s have had in 20 years; and Thornton isn’t the only member of that team who ascended elsewhere. Their fired coach, Mike Sullivan, took over his next job – with the Penguins – and won back to back Stanley Cups.

New England Revolution: 2011, by far. This was not the year to tell a soccer-curious friend of yours, “Hey, watch a Revs game with me. You’ll learn something.” Nope. This was a bottomed- out roster.

Taylor Twellman retired in November 2010 due to concussions, and the 2011 team’s leading goal-scorer was Shalrie Joseph with five. Five goals, all year. No player had more than one assist in MLS play.

Limited talent, limited budget, nonexistent training facility. It’s no wonder the Revs won just five of their 34 games. Fortunately, the franchise has fixed most of the issues from 2011. They also took something else from 2011: the coach of that season’s MLS Cup champs, the LA Galaxy’s Bruce Arena.

Boston Celtics: This is too easy. No, it’s not the 2006-2007 season and its 18-game losing streak. That team actually sold out its final 13 games and had terrific TV ratings; you liked that team and its future. I’m guessing you didn’t like the 2000-2001 C’s, with Rick Pitino telling you one season that “Larry Bird is not walking through that door…” and then walking out that door himself the next year after 34 games.

Boston Red Sox: This is a good debate. Do you go with one of the three last-place teams (2012, 2014, 2015)? Or do you slide in the 2011 darkhorse? That team was blessed with talent on the field, in the dugout (Tito Francona), and in the front office (Theo Epstein). It lost due to poor conditioning, poor attitudes, and…yes, fried chicken, beer, and video games.

After looking back on what you’ve seen, and contrasting it with 12 parades, it’s a pretty good life. Just imagine, you could be stuck rooting for the Jets and Knicks.