"The Stack" 9-2-16

Colin Kaepernick #7 took a knee during the national anthem in San Diego before the 49ers-Chargers game Thursday night. Teammate Eric Reid also took a knee beside him. Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Colin Kaepernick #7 took a knee during the national anthem in San Diego before the 49ers-Chargers game Thursday night. Teammate Eric Reid also took a knee beside him.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
#9 Tennessee survived a scare from Appalachian State knocking off the Mountaineers 20-13 in OT. It was not a good look for a team that many people have to win the SEC East.
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The Stack is back on this Friday with a few topics to discuss.  We have missed a few things this week while preparing the college football preview post which I hope you have read like Joey Bosa finally signing with the San Diego Chargers.  I digress though.  Bosa didn’t make the cut, but let’s find out what did in “the stack” for today, Friday, September 2nd:


Tennessee survives


Thursday’s slate of games to kick off the college football season didn’t contain many great matchups.  There were only two ranked teams #9 Tennessee and #19 Louisville in action.  Louisville took care of Charlotte 70-14.  Tennessee also won, but needed overtime to take down Appalachian State 20-13.  App State was up 13-3, but missed an extra point in the second quarter that would prove to be costly.  Late in the fourth quarter with the game tied they returned a punt deep into Tennessee territory only to miss a field goal.  Yet App State got the ball back deep in their own territory late in the fourth and drove into Tennessee territory and looked like they were going to attempt a game-winning field goal, but the Volunteers sniffed out a screen pass and then Appalachian State quarterback Taylor Lamb couldn’t get out of bounds in time before time expired in regulation.  Tennessee took the ball first in overtime and Joshua Dobbs helped lead the Vols to a first and goal.  On third and goal Dobbs looked to pass and then decided to try and run it in jumping in the air and extending his arms out across the pylon.  He fumbled and it looked like disaster for the Vols, but Jalen Hurd sprinted and dove on the football for the touchdown for Tennessee.  They would hold Appalachian State and that would be it.  Tennessee wins 20-13, but they were very unimpressive.  They have a lot to improve on.  What a try by Appalachian State who nine years to the day I believe on Thursday beat Michigan in Ann Arbor.  Alas, it was not meant to be this time. 


Another great finish involved a pair of SEC teams between South Carolina and Vanderbilt.  South Carolina’s Elliott Fry kicked a 55-yard field goal with 35 seconds left to lift the Gamecocks to the 13-10 win.  We’ll see what happens the rest of the weekend.  It’s bound to be a great opening weekend to the college football season.


Colin Kaepernick takes a knee during the national anthem


This Colin Kaepernick situation and story has gotten way out of control.  Before we cut to the chase let’s discuss what Kaepernick did last night in San Francisco’s game against the San Diego Chargers.  He went 11-for-18 for 103 yards and rushed four times for 38 yards.  Oh, that’s not what you were asking or care about?  Right, you want to talk about what Kaepernick did during the national anthem because apparently what he did has turned into the biggest story in the country for all of the reasons except the one that Kaepernick was trying to take a stand on and that is the seemingly increased mistreatment of African Americans by a few rogue cops. 


Well on Thursday night, during Military Appreciation Night in San Diego no less, Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem.  Teammate Eric Reid also took a knee alongside him.  However during God Bless America Kaepernick did salute the troops and applaud.  Here’s the thing.  Kaepernick has never said that he dislikes the military and that’s who his beef is with.  Plenty of people (maybe you too) started to say that Kaepernick was dissing the military and that is just plain wrong.  His issue is with the mistreatment of people of color by some cops that we have seen far too frequently this summer.  Kaepernick wants “justice for all.”  Isn’t that what the Pledge of Allegiance says?  Granted that does hurt Kaepernick’s argument a little bit since the national anthem doesn’t say that, but his point is nonetheless clear.  He feels that African Americans aren’t receiving the justice that every American should get.  And with America being the land of the free, he has that right to express himself.  The majority disagree with that.  Some do not and that is OK.  Everyone has the right to think differently, but let’s make sure we aren’t spinning this into something that it really isn’t.


From Baton Rouge to Falcon Heights to Milwaukee, there have been far too many instances where African Americans are being gunned down and killed by police officers.  I’m not saying that these victims were one hundred percent innocent, but is it really necessary to shoot someone four times in the chest?  Police officers have an incredibly difficult job and have to make decisions in a split second.  Sometimes it’s a second or two that is the difference between life and death.  Almost all police officers are very good people both in uniform and out.  They are trying to protect and serve.  Some however tend to go on a power trip and take the law into their own hands.  Some may have an issue with people of color and that is what Kaepernick is trying to draw attention to.  He’s not saying anything about the military and shame on the people who have made that the central issue with this.  What’s happened here has taken away from the message that Kaepernick wants us to discuss. 


I would argue that race relations today are as tense and bad as we have had in decades.  Kaepernick is tired of the way how he feels African Americans are being treated by some police officers.  That’s it.  That’s what we need to get the focus back on.  I wish the rest of America would wake up to that realization and stop blowing this into something that it’s not.  Oh by the way Seattle Seahawk Jeremy Lane sat for the national anthem Thursday night in Oakland.  Other players are feeling the same way that Kaepernick is.  And they are not doing it to disrespect the military.  Let’s remember that and hope that we can start having a discussion about Kaepernick’s real intentions and see what we can all do to make a difference towards that goal.


Teddy Bridgewater’s awful knee injury


Make no mistake about it, I’m a Minnesota Vikings fan, but I’m not biased, not when it comes to writing this blog.  Yet I cannot put into words how bad I feel for Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater who suffered a devastating knee injury in practice on Tuesday.  25 minutes into practice Bridgewater went back to pass and came down awkwardly on his left knee when he planted it.  In few words, his knee pretty much exploded.  What really happened is that Bridgewater suffered a complete tear of his ACL and dislocated his knee.  Had it not been for the quick work of the Vikings athletic trainers, Bridgewater could have suffered more damage and possibly lost his leg.  Tests revealed though that Bridgewater did not suffer any nerve damage.  The Vikings expect him to make a full recovery in due time and Bridgewater himself released a statement on Thursday talking about how he would attack his rehab.


Vikings fans, players and other NFL fans in general have offered their sympathy and support to Bridgewater.  It’s absolutely awful what happened to him.  He is such a good kid according to Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and so well liked by his teammates and opponents alike.  Even opposing fans like Bridgewater.  My heart pains for him.  It’s just not right, not when it looked like he was poised for a breakout year with this team.  The Vikings were a Super Bowl contender.  Now they will struggle just to make the playoffs, but I still think they can.  They are solid across the board and they still arguably the best running back in the game in Adrian Peterson.  Bridgewater had a lot to prove this year.  Shaun Hill is old (36 to be exact) and is not the ideal quarterback to lead the team this year, but if he can limit the picks and throw for more than the 14 touchdowns that Bridgewater threw last year, the Vikings are going to be OK.  I believe it and I think fans will start to believe it too if they haven’t already.  Get well soon Teddy.  We are all with you!


Enjoy your Labor Day weekend everyone


Coming up Tuesday: Reaction to the college football weekend plus other top stories in sports and on Thursday the 2016-17 NFL season preview.

Listen to this week's "The Sports Block" podcast here.