Bears

49ers QB Colin Kaepernick: Anthem protest about 'change,' not just police violence

49ers QB Colin Kaepernick: Anthem protest about 'change,' not just police violence

President-elect Donald Trump tweeted this week that people burn the American flag should be subjected to some form of punishment, such as prison time or loss of citizenship. The Supreme Court has ruled that flag-burning was protected as a form of “symbolic speech.”

Colin Kaepernick, who comes to Soldier Field next Sunday to face the Bears, elected this season to express his concern about what he called “systematic oppression” by not standing for the national anthem before games. Is the San Francisco 49ers quarterback concerned that the incoming Administration may look to punish anthem-sitters?

“No, I’m not concerned about that at all,” Kaepernick said via conference call on Wednesday. “To me, if things go down that path, those are human-rights issues. Patriotism is earned; it’s not something you demand. For me, I don’t see those as issues. I’ll continue on my path as I have planned.”

Kaepernick began his sitting protest during San Francisco preseason games last August. It ignited a national firestorm because it was viewed as anti-police, a protest against police violence.

But for Kaepernick, it was never a police issue.

“I’ve been very clear from the beginning that I’m against systematic oppression,” Kaepernick said. “Police violence is just one of the symptoms of that oppression. For me that is something that needs to be addressed but it’s not the whole issue.”

Kaepernick said he has been in touch with groups and individuals in Chicago, which has been plagued with gun violence in general. The goal is to support those groups trying to effect change and that has been Kaepernick’s end game as well, he said.

“For me, I want to try help create change and also help empower other people, other organizations, that are doing the work to continue to do the work, and people that aren’t, to get involved to help create that change,” Kaepernick said. “Because this isn’t something that’s going to be changed by one person or a couple of people. It’s going to take communities coming together and creating the change that needs to be made, and the country coming together.”

Bears vs. Redskins: Case Keenum confident Washington will 'move the ball and score touchdowns'

Bears vs. Redskins: Case Keenum confident Washington will 'move the ball and score touchdowns'

The Chicago Bears are entering Week 3's Monday night game against the Washington Redskins with a defense that, to no one's surprise, is ranked among the NFL's elite once again.

New defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano hasn't missed a beat in 2019. The Bears are ranked fourth in total yards allowed per game and are sixth against the run. They've been getting to the quarterback, too, ranking sixth in total sacks through two games.

So, yeah, the Redskins offense has their work cut out for them. Washington's starting QB Case Keenum knows how good the Bears defense is, but remains confident.

"Well they do a lot of stuff well, they’re ranked pretty high in a lot of categories," Keenum said of Chicago's defense Wednesday. "Up-front, obviously, with the guy they got last year in that trade, it makes them, it brings them to a whole other level, up-front I think we got our work cut out for us.

"They’ve got a lot of depth, a lot of experience on the back end, some guys who’ve played together a long time. I know they got a new defensive coordinator, but they got a lot of experience playing together, so their communication skills, as far as making the right checks and stuff, they do a good job of disguising a lot of stuff, so recognizing coverages, recognizing fronts, and then knowing our plan to attack those is gonna be key."

The Redskins played better than expected over the last two weeks against opponents who also feature strong defenses. Despite sitting at 0-2, Washington played both the Eagles and Cowboys tough.

"I don’t know if there’s anything we take away from them being great defenses," Keenum said of the Redskins' early-season opponents. "We’re confident, whoever we play, we’re gonna line up and move the ball and go score touchdowns. Everybody in this league is really good, and we got our work cut out for us again, I wouldn’t have it any other way."

Keenum is off to a hot start in 2019 and will challenge the Bears' secondary, maybe even more than most fans are expecting right now. He's completed 69 percent of his passes for 601 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions so far this year, numbers that look more like what Chicago was hoping for from Mitch Trubisky than what was projected for a journeyman like Keenum.

As defending NFC North champs, the Bears are embracing all that comes with the national spotlight

As defending NFC North champs, the Bears are embracing all that comes with the national spotlight

When the Bears head to D.C. next Monday, it'll be their second nationally-televised game in three weeks. It's not dissimilar from 2018's start, when they started with back-to-back Sunday nights: first in Green Bay (remember?!) and then the home opener vs. Seattle. 

Last year, that Seahawks game would be the last nationally-viewed Bears game until they played in Detroit on Thanksgiving almost two months later. Flexed Sunday night games against the Rams and in Minnesota made it 4 on the season. 

Things are a bit different this season. As it stands today, the Bears are scheduled to be on national broadcasts five more times this year, and seven times on the season.  Two weeks after D.C. they'll be in London against the Raiders, and then have Sunday night games against the Rams, Cowboys, and Chiefs. Throw in another noon Thanksgiving kickoff in Detroit and that's a whole lot of exposure. 

"Bring the prime time, bring the prime time," linebacker Danny Trevathan said. "That’s what we strive for, that’s what we wanted. Coach talked about being 100… that’s prime time." 

There have been a lot of night games in the Matt Nagy era, a testament to how quickly he brought the franchise back into the national conversation. It's not without it's cons, but that many late kickoffs means you're doing something well. 

"There’s a little bit more attitude when you’re playing on Thursday night, Sunday night, Monday night," said Allen Robinson. "You know the whole world is watching – there’s only one game on at that time." 

"Everybody’s watching," Trevathan added. "And it’s a chance for us to go ahead and play our type of ball, come away with a dub, and put it on for the whole world to see."