Colin Kaepernick’s decision to snub the American flag last week has drawn the ire of many current and former NFL players, including Steve Weatherford.
“It’s difficult for me to address it because I’ve never walked the shoes of a minority in America,” the former NFL punter and Super Bowl champion said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “So when I see something like that happen – and Colin is trying to address something that I do agree needs to be addressed. I saw the video of the young man who lost his life with the police in Baton Rouge, and I am a massive, massive military and law-enforcement supporter. I don’t know anybody who has any more admiration or supports them more than I do. But there’s no way that you can disagree or anything with that video. So I believe that it does need to be addressed. But at the same time, the fashion, the delivery, the timing of how Colin Kaepernick chose to address it, I feel like, is un-American, it’s inappropriate, it’s distasteful and it pisses me off.”
So, what would have been a better time for Kaepernick to try to get his point across?
“Any other time than when they’re playing the national anthem to honor the people that came before us to give us our liberties, to give us our freedoms, to give you the opportunity to throw a football for a living and make an insane amount of money doing it,” Weatherford said. “Listen, man, I played in the league for 10 years. I made $15 million – for kicking a football. How blessed am I? So it’s coming from somebody who’s walked those shoes. You’re abusing the platform that you have as a role model to choose to do it during a time when the attention and the respect should be paid to your country.
“Now, my message to Colin Kaepernick is I agree with you,” Weatherford continued. “This should be addressed. Choose to do it in a different format in a different delivery and you know what? It wouldn’t be a bad thing if you put a little bit of hustle being the bustle and took some of that $19 million that you’re making and help some of those families and help to create some type of entity that will be much more positive and affect more change than sitting on your butt on a bench at the time that you are supposed to be paying your respects for your country who is affording you the opportunity to play this game, affording you the liberties and the freedoms to live life the way that you want to live life.
“Now, are you within your constitutional rights to sit down? Absolutely you are. I’m not telling you you’re wrong for doing it. I’m just telling you personally man-to-man, I don’t like it.”
While Kaepernick is taking heat for his activism, Mark Sanchez is taking heat for, well, his ineptitude. Yes, the same guy who led the Jets to back-to-back AFC title games has been benched in favor of Trevor Siemian, who has never thrown a pass in the NFL.
How is that possible? What made Sanchez successful then that is lacking now?
“They just didn’t have a ton of depth to their play book,” said Weatherford, who played for the Jets during those years. “Not that Mark is not super intelligent – because he’s a very, very smart guy. He’s very, very talented, but I feel like Mark is best-served when he doesn’t have to think a lot. He’s a smart guy and he’s a really athletic guy. A lot of people don’t realize how well he moves within the pocket when he’s relaxed. Now when you have a guy who has athleticism but then he’s thinking, it’s kind of the old adage: It’s paralysis by analysis. I don’t think he moves nearly as well and makes nearly as good decisions when he has to think a lot. So if you kind of compartmentalize the game plan week to week and don’t give him a ton of plays to work within and if you just let him get comfortable within that system the same way Rex Ryan did, (he can be successful).
“What rookie is able to bring a franchise to two AFC Championship games?” Weatherford continued. “They just didn’t rely on Mark to win the game for them. They just wanted him to manage the clock. The field position battle was huge. When you have a great defense like that and you have a very well-coached special teams – and they did – Mark Sanchez essentially just had to manage the game. They didn’t need him to put up 31 points, 27 points. We won so many games that year like 14-6, 10-7 – because we just didn’t give up a ton of points. We were punting on average like six or seven times per game but our defense just wasn’t giving up points. We were a very, very stingy defense.”
Weatherford believes that Sanchez can still be a successful starting quarterback in the NFL.
“I think if you make it more game-to-game specific and find plays that Mark is comfortable with, (he’d do well),” Weatherford said. “Because the team that he’s on right now reminds me so much of the 2009-2010 New York Jets. Incredibly talented defense, incredibly well-coached defense. How is that any different than what he was dealing with in New York? Honestly I think Mark Sanchez is your best chance to get back to the playoffs and make a run because he has learned so much (over the years). He just needs to manage the game. He’s got all the pieces to the puzzle that he had when he was with the Jets in 2009 and 2010. I think he’s got a great shot, but as of right now, they’re not giving him that shot.”