NFL Player Turned Marine Veteran Rips 'Disgrace' Kaepernick for 'Pulling the Racism and Victim Card'


An NFL player who went into the Marines and is now running for Congress is going after Colin Kaepernick for what he calls ”pulling the racism and victim card” in Kaepernick’s ongoing battle with the NFL.

Jeremy Staat made the remarks during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning, criticizing Kaepernick’s take on his exclusion from the NFL.

Kaepernick, 32, has thus far been passed over for another opportunity in the league after a much-publicized tryout in Georgia late last month. He last played with the San Francisco 49ers in 2016 during a season in which he made more headlines for his national anthem protests than for his play.

Staat is hardly a Kaepernick-esque name, at least not yet. After a college career at Arizona State, where he was a teammate of the legendary Pat Tillman, he played in the NFL, mainly for the Pittsburgh Steelers between 1998 and 2000. He joined the Marines in 2006 and deployed to Iraq.

He’s now running for the GOP nomination for Congress in California’s 8th District — a Republican stronghold where the current officeholder is retiring — and has made news by sending out a fundraising email complaining Kaepernick is a “national disgrace and I’m tired of seeing him celebrated like he’s a hero.”

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Staat made similar remarks during his Monday appearance on Fox News.

“I think it’s an absolute disgrace,” Staat said.

“We have a professional athlete who has pulled the race card, he’s pulled the victim card. He knew what he was getting into when he decided to kneel and now, he’s going to go ahead and capitalize on this by essentially extorting the black community and using Nike as his little shiny horse, if you will, to ride in on.“

Staat’s remarks follow an appearance by Kaepernick at an event known as “Unthanksgiving” — a celebration of the 19-month occupation of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco by Native American activists that began roughly around Thanksgiving in 1969 and which now functions as a sort of catch-all counter-programming event for liberals on Turkey Day.

“It’s been 50 years since the occupation,” Kaepernick said at the event. “And that struggle has continued for that 50 years …

“It’s our responsibility to honor our ancestors and honor our elders by carrying on that struggle. Don’t let their sacrifices be in vain,” he continued.

“That’s why it’s important for all of us to be here today, to show that we’re together, that we’re unified, that we have that solidarity. And I hope to spend many more of these with you.”

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Kaepernick-related controversy erupted again this week as the injury-beset Detroit Lions — a team that’s gone through signal callers like Spinal Tap did drummers — decided against signing Kaepernick.

Rex Ryan summed up the league’s reticence to signing Kaepernick, even as a backup: “As a coach, you don’t want the circus in your locker room,” the former NFL head coach said in an interview with ESPN.

“But I’m sorry, but that’s what it is. Is it gonna be worth all the extra media? You’re gonna have a backup quarterback having press conferences and all those types of things. And part of being a backup is accepting your role. You push the starter but you accept the role as a backup.”

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As for Staat, he had a message for Kaepernick: “If you want to be part of the solution, go out and find ways to make the problem better.”

“Don’t go out and attack individuals who are just doing their jobs,” he said, referring to Kaepernick’s accusations of racism by police officers.

Barring some sort of massive reversal in the former 49ers signal caller’s fortunes, both Kaepernick and Staat will be mostly involved in trying to effect political change going forward. Both will likely be better remembered for their contribution to the national discussion than whatever they did on the football field.

As for which will climb further at this point, Kaepernick’s political clout has never been based on what he’s said — he’s never able to cobble together a cohesive vision to fit his discontent into — but rather on what he’s purportedly lost by taking a stand. As of right now, the media narrative is on his side.

Five years from now, when we’re looking at this with the objective eye of hindsight, our view will likely be more Rex Ryan-esque. Whether Kaepernick’s rhetoric will still captivate the media after the “will the NFL sign him?” storyline has passed remains to be seen.

Staat’s football career, meanwhile, has long since passed. I never knew it happened, to be frank. Now he’s running on a record of service — service in the Marines and (if all goes as planned for him) service in Congress.

Since 2016, Kaepernick has been engaging in an act of creative destruction when it comes to his career. Whether he’s able to build something lasting remains to be seen.

As for Staat, all he can do is build — and Washington is the right place to do it.

We’ll see where that leaves both of them in another five years.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture