Former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann has criticized the San Francisco 49ers for awarding Colin Kaepernick the prestigious Len Eshmont prize for being an “inspirational and courageous” player.
Kaepernick, whose protests against racial injustice and police brutality were one of the features of the 2016 NFL season, was presented with the award last week. The prize is given to the Niner who “inspirational and courageous play” of Len Eshmont, a player from the original 1946 team who scored the 49ers’ first ever touchdown. The award is voted for by the players.
But Theismann, who spent 12 years with Washington and won a Super Bowl before his career was ended by a horrific leg break in 1985, said on Fox News he disagreed with the 49ers’ choice of winner.
“I don’t agree with what he’s done,” Theismann said of the protests. “As a matter of fact, the American flag, and I wear one on my lapel very proudly no matter where I go, stands for the right to be able to do the things you wanna do, to be able to stand up and have a difference of opinion. I agree with that part of it, but not when you’re on the job.”
The 67-year-old Theismann continued: “Everyone has the right to express their opinion, but not in the workplace.” Theismann also called on the NFL to adopt a policy requiring players to stand for the anthem.
Kaepernick, who started the season as the backup to Blaine Gabbert, managed only one victory as starter, a 22-21 win over the Rams on 24 December. The 49ers finished bottom of the NFC West, and coach Chip Kelly was fired at the weekend.