Taking political stances in college sports: admirable or annoying?

By Collin Bryant | Sports Writer

College athletes would be punished drastically for taking a strong political stance during games. Would it be sanctions from the NCAA? No, probably not, but the results would prove to be just as detrimental. Their punishment would be most likely less playing time, being forced to play under an even bigger microscope and maybe even a career cut short. Why? Because college athletes are extremely expendable. If you have any question of expendability, look no further than patient zero himself, Colin Kaepernick of the NFL.

Kaepernick, a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, has been without a job for over three months.Kaepernick had no choice but to wade into the waters of free agency to continue his career, amid controversy, with the 49ers cutting him loose in March and not resigning him this past offseason.

While the beginning of his resume was solid and highlighted by a Super Bowl appearance his first year with the 49ers, his tenure since then has been less than stellar. Kaepernick won only three of his last 19 starts. During this same time, Kaepernick was met with backlash for kneeling during the national anthem throughout the season. By the end of the season, it wasn’t the number of wins that many attributed for being the reason he has lacked a job, but his strong political statement – a statement that has been deemed by most of the public as unpatriotic.

CBS Sports cited a poll conducted by Reuters earlier in the season to get American’s take on his actions. Many seem to disagree with his kneeling political stunt. According to the survey, 72 percent of Americans said that they thought Kaepernick’s behavior was unpatriotic.

“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 said to NFL Media, attempting to explain his position on kneeling for the national anthem.

While the situation has not posed a problem yet in college football, one could venture to say if a player took the same stand, the issues would prove worse.

One can look at a college depth chart and see the mobility of a change in position. Baylor, for instance, currently has six quarterbacks listed before the start of the season, where most NFL teams have maybe three.

“Teams may also keep three quarterbacks on the roster if the first two quarterbacks are injured or injury-prone,” Bleacher Report said, explaining the anatomy of a basic 53-man roster.

In college, there seems to always be someone ready to take your place, which is not unlike the NFL, but to an even greater degree. If college is supposed to be a time of development, growth and maturity, then what would a university be saying if they began to take away opportunities based upon a political stance? I believe players would loose some of the basic foundations a college experience should lend to a person.

Am I advocating for a stand of any kind or protest against America? Absolutely not. To me, America is the greatest country on earth and deserves to be treated accordingly. That being said, if any college football player from a big university took a stance for something they believe in, it would be interesting to see the outcome. It will be intriguing to see where the line is drawn, because as we’ve seen for Kaepernick, the outcome does not seem favorable.

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