Sunday, February 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fennelly: Let Kaepernick sit for anthem; that's American, too

O say can't you see: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick wasn't as unpatriotic as he seemed when he sat out the national anthem before a preseason game.

Kaepernick was taking his First Amendment rights on an extended drive.

He was being … American.

You remember the First Amendment. It protects freedom of speech and expression, among other things. It's the amendment right in front of the Second Amendment.

Kaepernick's protest Friday night wasn't popular. I wouldn't have done it, but I'm not him.

He told the NFL Network: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people are getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

I'm not about to tell the guy to love America or leave it.

It's a free country.

True, I'm not sure where Kaeper­nick is going with all this, or how personally oppressed he is, since he makes millions of dollars.

But he was born to a white woman and a black man. He was then adopted and raised by white parents. He might be as good a person as any to be disappointed about our nation's racial tensions.

A red, white and blue confession:

I can get gooey over the flag and anthem.

My eyes filled watching American Olympians cry on the medal stand as the flag rose and the anthem played in Rio. Wrestler Helen Maroulis' and swimmer Simone Manuel's tears were especially moving.

I still remember the lump in my throat during a trip to France 25 years ago, when I saw our flag snapping in the wind above the American military cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy.

Every time I see that photo of firefighters raising the flag over the rubble of the World Trade Center, I get chills.

Another confession: I didn't want to sing an anthem when politicians took no real action in the aftermath of those children who died in the Sandy Hook shootings.

I wasn't proud of America at that moment.

It's a free country.

I get gooey over that, too.

I'm thankful to live in a place like this, where you can express yourself. You can call Kaepernick an idiot, or a washed-up quarterback trying to make news, or worse, or a lot worse.

It's a free country.

Look, we have bigger problems than a quarterback not standing for the anthem.

Kaepernick could have minded his own business.

Only he decided this was his business.

It's a free country.

It is one founded on a 240-year-old idea that remains forever young and proud. I've never once thought that those who fought wars for us, and for freedom, did it so we could sit around and completely agree with each other. We're stronger than that. We're more than symbols. We speak up. It's our right.

That's as American as America gets.

Comments
Bucs awarded compensatory draft pick in seventh round

Bucs awarded compensatory draft pick in seventh round

The Bucs finally have a compensatory draft pick.For the first time since 2011, Tampa Bay has played the free-agent game well enough to be awarded a comp pick — after the seventh round, 255th overall, the next to last in the draft.Comp picks hav...
Published: 02/23/18
Bucs need a backup plan at quarterback; best bets are Ryan Fitzpatrick or (maybe) Mike Glennon

Bucs need a backup plan at quarterback; best bets are Ryan Fitzpatrick or (maybe) Mike Glennon

TAMPA – Finding a quarterback is a big priority for the Bucs this off-season. That's not a misprint. No, they're not looking to replace Jameis Winston. Far from it. But they may need to find their version of the Eagles' Nick Foles — excep...
Published: 02/23/18
Despite warnings to stay in school, Chase Litton confident about draft prospects

Despite warnings to stay in school, Chase Litton confident about draft prospects

As he made the tough decision whether to return to Marshall for his senior season, quarterback Chase Litton reached out to the NFL's advisory committee, which gives underclassmen a sense of where they're likely to be drafted should they leave early."...
Published: 02/23/18
Bucs wonít tender injured LB Adarius Glanton, DB Jude Adjei-Barimah

Bucs wonít tender injured LB Adarius Glanton, DB Jude Adjei-Barimah

The Bucs have started the internal decisions that lead up to the start of free agency in three weeks, letting two restricted free agents recovering from injury —  LB Adarius Glanton and DB Jude Adjei-Barimah — know that they won't be...
Published: 02/23/18
Police: DeSean Jacksonís former Eagles teammate drove truck found wrecked with bullets, marijuana inside

Police: DeSean Jacksonís former Eagles teammate drove truck found wrecked with bullets, marijuana inside

TAMPA  — With no witnesses and no video evidence, Tampa Police have stopped investigating a case from Christmas Eve that had a truck belonging to Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson found wrecked and abandoned in a mall parking lot with hollow-po...
Published: 02/22/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Bucs QB Jameis Winston uninjured in car wreck

Bucs QB Jameis Winston uninjured in car wreck

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston was not hurt in a car wreck last week in which he was cited for careless driving.Winston, 24, was driving on the Veterans Expressway near Waters Avenue in northwest Tampa on Feb. 13 when his Ford F250 truck rear-ended ...
Published: 02/22/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Bucs sign ex-New Hampshire RB Dalton Crossan

Bucs sign ex-New Hampshire RB Dalton Crossan

February signings in the NFL usually face long odds to stick on rosters in the fall, but the Bucs added to their running back depth on Thursday, signing former New Hampshire star Dalton Crossan.Crossan, who turns 24 on Sunday, went to training camp l...
Published: 02/22/18
Brentson Buckner wants more than sacks from Bucs d-line

Brentson Buckner wants more than sacks from Bucs d-line

Much has been made of the Bucs finishing last in the NFL in sacks with just 22 during the 2017 season, but new defensive line coach Brentson Buckner says he measures success in much more than the ultimate goal of a sack."You play 1,300 plays, you hav...
Published: 02/22/18
New D-line coach Brentson Buckner wants to make Bucs pass rush great again

New D-line coach Brentson Buckner wants to make Bucs pass rush great again

This isn't the first time Brentson Buckner has wanted to get closer to the Bucs defensive line.As a defensive tackle for the Panthers, Buckner's team went 7-9 in 2002, the inaugural season for the NFC South.Tampa Bay won the division that year, and w...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/22/18
New Bucs assistant Brentson Buckner knows challenge of NFC South QBs

New Bucs assistant Brentson Buckner knows challenge of NFC South QBs

New Bucs defensive line coach Brentson Buckner understands full well what a challenge he'll face in trying to bring down three talented quarterbacks in the NFC South this season."Not getting much sleep," Buckner said, asked of his expectations in a d...
Published: 02/21/18