Well, you made it. At least we hope you made it through the boring month and a half that is called preseason football. NFL training camps and now the 2016 preseason are over. You can finally exhale and finish off your fantasy football drafts after six weeks of worrying about injuries and ailments during this portion of the NFL year.
Cuts will start rolling in this afternoon as every team must be down to 53 players by tomorrow afternoon, Saturday, Sept. 3. The men competing for spots have had all the time they are going to get to audition for their futures in the NFL.
And of course, what helps a boring preseason? How about some drama in the NFL? One of our local favorite teams wrapped up their preseason, and they did so in dramatic fashion…before the game even got started.
Colin Kaepernick and his San Francisco 49ers rolled into town to face the San Diego Chargers Thursday, Sept. 1, and without flinching, he continues to not stand during the national anthem.
Kaepernick made headlines late last week as he willingly immersed himself into controversy by refusing to stand for the playing of the national anthem before the 49ers’ preseason loss to Green Bay at Levi’s Stadium Friday, Aug. 26. He says he is doing it in protest of what he deems are wrongdoings against African-American and minorities in the United States.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
The 49ers issued a statement about Kaepernick’s decision: “The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pregame ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”
Fast forward a week and again the San Francisco 49ers quarterback knelt during the national anthem against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium, but Kaepernick, 28, was not alone this time in his protest. Teammate Eric Reid also dropped to a knee. That same night, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane refused to stand during the national anthem before his game against the Oakland Raiders.
Charger fans booed Kaepernick every time he touched the ball in the game. Though there were also some cheers for him in the wake of #VeteransForKaepernick, a social media trend that started after military veterans defended Kaepernick’s actions.
Leading up to the game the Chargers visited the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar as a part of the team’s annual Salute to the Military preseason game. Holding the walk through the day before the game has been a tradition for over a decade.
“The military is such a big part of San Diego, which is a reason it is a big part of the Chargers as well,” said President of Business Operations A.G. Spanos. “Our relationship with the military has gone on for decades. This was our 28th Annual Salute to the Military game, and it’s hard to put into words how meaningful that is to our organization. Having the chance to spend time earlier this week with not only the men and women of our military but their families is something we always look forward to.”
Despite all the controversy before the game, the San Diego Chargers fell 31-21 to the San Francisco 49ers in their final preseason match. The Niners took a three point lead with just over three minutes left in the game and tacked on seven more after capitalizing off a San Diego turnover. Kelvin Taylor ran the ball in the end zone for 10 yards to score the 49ers third unanswered touchdown with two minutes left in the game.
In a loss that really means nothing, some of the youngest Bolts found the end zone in FB Chris Swain, RB Kenneth Farrow and WR Isaiah Burse. After cuts are made and the players kick-off their regular season practices, San Diego will take to the road for their first game of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Sept. 11. The Bolts first home game will be Sunday, Sept. 18, against the Jacksonville Jaguars. More info can be found online at www.chargers.com.