by Daisy Barringer
The 49ers looked the best they have yesterday since their season opener. Kaepernick played with confidence. Our defense (the NFL’s worst) had four takeaways. Phil Dawson made two important field goals. Chip Kelly showed signs of being the coach Niners’ fans expected. And, overall, the entire team looked more energized. But they still lost—their eighth straight, in fact. So, sure, they looked okay for the first time in a while, but it means nothing. This team is still a total disaster.
Chip Kelly said it best in his post-game interview when he reminded everyone, “They’re not handing out participation trophies in the National Football League.”
Frankly, I was fine with the loss. Kaepernick tied things up at 20-20 with a 4-yard bootleg run and if the Cardinals hadn’t gone down the field to kick a field goal as time expired, we would have been forced to watch overtime. And I don’t care how much better the 49ers looked, they didn’t look so good that I wanted to watch them on the field for a second more than necessary. Also, sorry to be that girl, but the only thing a win would have done is screw up our 2017 draft position and, at this point, assuming Baalke does get fired, that’s the only thing we have to look forward to with this team.
But WILL Baalke get fired? A few hours before kickoff he spoke out about how people should not blame the Yorks for this horrendous 49ers season. “If people want to push blame, find it, look right here, because I’ve been given everything I need to be successful,” he said. Call me crazy, but in pretty much any other job if you bragged about how you’ve been given all of the resources, support, and finances to do an amazing job and then you SUCK AT YOUR JOB, you’d be looking for a new job. But Baalke’s confidence in speaking out and standing up for Jed York kinda makes me think he feels like he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. I mean, it’s just a hunch and god, I hope I’m wrong, but I just feel like people only say “blame me” when they are assured that blame won’t actually mean anything. So that’s fun.
Along those same lines, it was great to see Kaepernick finally have a good game. He completed 17 of 30 pass attempts for 210 yards and a touchdown, ran for 55 yards and a touchdown, and managed not to turn the ball over. And he looked comfortable doing so. Unfortunately, whereas I think there’s a good chance Baalke sticks around for the 2017 season, I suspect Kaepernick will be kneeling for the anthem on another team’s sideline. These next few games are all just one long audition so he can sign with another team, pack up his Malcom X t-shirts, and say “eff you” to the 49ers front office as he walks out the door.
If that happens, I think I’ll be okay with it. Like everyone else, I see glimmers of hope in Kap’s play. He can be fun to watch. Plus, I really respect his effort to spearhead a protest to show solidarity with people of color who are being oppressed. I really respect that he pledged to donate $1 million to community organizations. And I really respect that he is reaching out directly to the Black community with events like “Know Your Rights Camp.”
Unfortunately, he lost a lot of my respect when he decided not to vote in the presidential election. His explanation was that he’s against oppression and against the system of oppression. “I’m not going to show support for that system,” he said. “And to me, the oppressor isn’t going to allow you to vote your way out of oppression.” So let me get this straight, Kap. You wear Malcom X t-shirts, a man who said, “A ballot is like a bullet” and then you choose not to vote? And you don’t see anything hypocritical about that?
I understand that Kaepernic was not happy with either of the candidates. But in California there was a lot more at stake on the ballot than just the next president. There were propositions that will have a direct impact on the issue of criminal justice reform. And even if that weren’t true, Kaepernick has now become a hero to kids who look up to him for making his voice heard. And what he just told them is that voting doesn’t matter. And, yet, voting is the one way we are all guaranteed to have a voice. We may not like the outcome. In fact, we may hate it. But while protesting is an amazing way to create social change, so is voting. And if he’s saying there’s no point in doing so because it’s all hopeless, one may start to wonder why he’s even bothering to protest in the first place. One may start to wonder if he’s as much of a role model as she thought.
Next Week: The (7-2) New England Patriots come to Levi’s Stadium for what’s sure to be a complete rout of the (1-8) 49ers. I sold my tickets months ago. Best decision I’ve made in a while. Besides, you know, taking the time to vote.