The Urban Legend

San Francisco 49ers make headlines for off field controversy amidst defeat

Ian Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief of Newspaper

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 It was not a good off-season for the San Francisco 49ers. CG technology, a Las Vegas based betting and wagering technology firm, bets that the Niners will lose all 16 of their games by at least two points. This was a huge disappointment to fans who saw the Niners win the NFC title just four years ago.

   After a rough first season without longtime coach Jim Harbaugh, where the Niners went a pitiful 5-11, the franchise reorganized itself. The program hired former Philadelphia Eagles and University of Oregon coach, Chip Kelly, and fired coach Jim Tomsula who was widely blamed for the team’s woes. In 2015, the 49ers finished last in their division and were ranked 29th out of 32 in the ESPN end of season power rankings.

  However, the controversy for the 49ers lies not in their 2015 season disaster or bleak 2016 season, but rather in their off-field antics. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick made national headlines in August when he chose to not stand for the national anthem in a preseason game in protest for unjustified police killings of African Americans in the United States. Kaepernick’s protest spread within the National Football League and other professional and high school level sports, prompting demonstrations from players such as 49ers safety Eric Reid and multiple members of the Philadelphia Eagles. In San Francisco, the entire Mission High School football team kneeled during the national anthem in solidarity with Kaepernick.

   “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said Kaepernick in an interview with the NFL network. His protest has sparked controversy and debate across the United States, including Urban’s hallways.

  In an online survey sent out on September 14th 2016 by the Urban Legend, 71 percent of the students surveyed supported Kaepernick’s protest. On September 7th, 2016, the school hosted a forum on Kaepernick and the national anthem in the Saint Ignatius room, and a teacher and student panel featuring teachers Greg Monfils and Charisse Wu, and athletic director Joe Skiffer.

“I support [Kaepernick] to an extent,” explained Christopher Williams, the Outreach Coordinator for the admissions department. “I believe he is exercising his right, whatever that means … Colin Kaepernick is using his status to make a point and to solidify his stance, and the NFL is one of the easiest places to do this. The cameras show people standing, and his protest will be evident.”  Outside of Urban, the support for Kaepernick is not as strong. According to a nationwide YouGov poll, 57 percent of Americans disapproved of the protest. An even higher number of whites–69 percent of them– disapproved of the protest.

  However, not all the off-field controversy lies within Kaepernick’s protest: tight end Bruce Miller was released by the 49ers on September 5th, 2016 after being arrested on seven different counts of felony assault, including assault with a deadly weapon at a hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf. Longtime 49er and outside linebacker Aldon Smith was released in 2015 and picked up by the Raiders after his fifth arrest and third DUI in three years.

  So far this season, the 49ers are 1-4, with a victory over the Rams, with losses against the Seahawks, Cardinals, Panthers and Cowboys. Despite the low expectations, Niners fans remain faithful, and continue to sell out every game in Santa Clara.

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The School Newspaper of The Urban School of San Francisco
San Francisco 49ers make headlines for off field controversy amidst defeat