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The MRC vs. A Football Player

The Media Research Center hurls an arsenal of personal attacks at Colin Kaepernick for his national anthem protest and refusing to acknowledge he has a reason for protesting.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 9/14/2016

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the national anthem in a preseason game, prompting much of the ConWeb -- particularly the Media Research Center -- to lash out at Kaepernick personally for his protest and dismiss mock the reason he did it: a protest over the way blacks and minorities are treated in America.

NewsBusters' Dylan Gwinn was first to lash out, huffing that Kaepernick's Twitter account "basically reads like a Black Lives Matter site" and sneering, "Unclear as to whether or not Kaepernick considers our black President and black head of the Justice Department as in on the racist cabal. That story coming later, probably. Actually, probably not." Gwinn then dismissed Kaepernick completely because "he’s not good at football anymore."

"Bruce Bookter" -- an anonymous alleged "sports journalist" who uses a "pen name" for his work at NewsBusters -- took umbrage at ESPN commenter Pablo S. Torre for suggesting that only Trump supporters are angered by Kaepernick's protest:

Yeah, it’s not all about sports at all. It’s supposed to be a unifying moment that brings us together as one, before we all yell and scream and foam at the mouth at each other. This is a point understood by most people. These same “most people,” many of whom elected and then re-elected a black President, don’t believe the American flag represents bigotry or oppression.

The fact that it’s apparently not understood at all by the leftist sports media is…well…sadly not surprising. However, heed Torre’s words here, and expect a renewed push on the part of the sports media to eliminate the National Anthem as a quaint old custom that has nothing to do with sports and everything to do with oppression.

This from a guy who doesn't even have the courage of his convictions to put his own name on them.

Gwinn returned to attack NFL Players Association president DeMaurice Smith for defending Kaepernick (italics his):

Smith categorically rejects the idea of “shut up and play.” The notion that athletes should just do their jobs and leave their politics out of it. Smith claims that this turns the athlete into a two-dimensional person, and doesn’t allow for the athlete to express those attributes which make him “human.”

Of course, those critical of Kaepernick are not saying he doesn’t have a right to feel how he feels. They’re disputing what he says. Not his right to say it.

Actually, Dylan, if you're telling Kaepernick to "shut up and play" -- and it certainly appears you are -- you are, in fact, disputing his right to say it.

Also pretending he's not disputing Kaepernick's right to say it while actually doing so is "Bookter," who went on a tirade against both him and ESPN’s Ian O’Connor for daring to defend him:

Someone needs to get ESPN and 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick a room. Preferably a room in another country. Yet, a room nonetheless.


Rebranding disrespect to America and its flag as patriotism is, of course, verbatim from the leftist handbook. If people call Colin Kaepernick un-American, it’s not because they think he doesn’t have the right to speak. They say it in response to his actual words and actions.

Also funny is that O’Connor feels Kaepernick’s protest will remind the world that the United States is “still a pretty damn good place to live.” Really? How is telling the world that our nation oppresses black people and minorities a good thing? Upon reading Colin Kaepernick’s protest, will people in Africa or Central America more likely think, “Hmm, maybe I’ll go to America where I’m free to speak my mind?” Or, “Holy cow! American cops ruthlessly murder minorities with impunity, and nobody does anything about it!”

I’m guessing the latter.

O’Connor, honestly, likely has no idea himself what he meant when saying that whites forever ask blacks to overcome obstacles “that whites themselves created.” Just remember the important things here: a white family adopted Colin Kaepernick, who was drafted into the league by a white head coach and General Manager, paid millions of dollars by NFL owners who happened to be white, a majority white country has now twice elected a black President, and you’re all racists.

The end.

Gwinn piled on in yet another post, declaring that " in addition to being a moron, he’s also bad at football." Yes, the guy who led his 49ers to a Super Bowl berth in 2012 is "bad at football."

And a bad American, apparently. The MRC's Kyle Drennen, meanwhile, declared Kaepernick to be "anti-American," according to the headline of his Aug. 29 post, upset that one reporter allegedly "treated Kaepernick like a martyr," while Brad Wilmouth asserted that Kaepernick's protest was an "expression of anti-U.S. sentiment."

Actually, what could be more American then protesting the actions of others? If that's "anti-American," than the MRC is anti-American too.

Gwinn returned once again to slam Kaepernick's purported incompetence as a QB (again, never mind that he has played in more Super Bowls than Gwinn has), sneering that he was merely "assuming the sitting position he’s likely to become very familiar with over the course of the next season." Gwinn also attacked Kaepernick for the alleged futility of his protest:

Has he started the Colin Kaepernick Fund for Underprivileged or At-Risk Youth? Has he spent hours and hours mentoring kids? Is he trying to improve police/community relations?

Even if every other player in the league followed Kaepernick’s lead, and sat during the anthem at every game for the rest of the season, the end result of that would be?...

I can think of a few outcomes. None of them would do anything to help the cause Kaepernick claims to want to fix.

Actually, Kaepernick has said that he'll donate the revenue he makes from the sales of his replica jersey -- which has become a top seller since his protest began -- to communities, and he also pledged to donate the first $1 million of his salary to charities that help minority communities.

So, yes, Dylan, Kaepernick is trying to make a difference and put his money where his mouth (or knee) is. What have you done?

But Kaepernick's generosity won't stop the MRC's taunts. NewsBusters blogger Randy Hall called in some lower-tier right-wing commentator to hurl insults at Kaepernick:

During Monday night's edition of the Tomi program on The Blaze, conservative host Tomi Lahren harshly criticized Colin Kaepernick -- quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers professional football team -- for refusing to stand during the performance of the National Anthem at the start of the preseason game against the Green Bay Packers the day before.

Lahren began her “Final Thoughts” segment by promising to “eviscerate” Kaepernick's “mouth diarrhea” before calling him a “whiny, indulgent, attention-seeking crybaby” and asserting that “if this country disgusts you so much, leave!”


Lahren then said she was going to “eviscerate” this “mouth diarrhea” sentence by sentence.

As with most of the MRC's nasty personal attacks on Kaepernick, this has nothing whatsoever to do with its claimed mission of rooting out "liberal media bias."

So, naturally, MRC chief Brent Bozell, knowing a hot-button right-wing issue when he sees one, wanted in on this sweet mission-irrelevant angry-ranting action for himself. He ran to Fox Business to spew: "I think this man is a disgraceful ingrate. I spit on him for what he has been saying." Bozell left unspoken whether he also farts in Kaepernick's general direction.

Bozell cranked up the taunts in his and Tim Graham's Sept. 2 column in which they also attack anyone who dares to point out that Kaepernick is well within his First Amendment rights to engage in his protest:

Like so many leftists, this disgraceful ingrate is nowhere to be found when there are a thousand times more "bodies in the street" as casualties of drug dealers or gang-bangers. Almost 500 people have been killed this year in Chicago, Illinois, alone. Seventy-nine police officers have been killed in the line of duty this year. It's unclear if this means a thing to Kaepernick.

But what's even more disturbing is how so many Americans feel the need to express respect for his right to speak freely. On ABC, Sen. Tim Kaine lectured, saying, "You got to respect people's ability to act according to their conscience." No, you don't have to respect that. Nor should you, Sen. Kaine.

How dare this man dishonor all the men and women who gave their lives for that flag? How many men and women pine to throw a football, but are missing hands? Or want to run on the field, but are missing legs?

To many on the left, denouncing America and its flag is a precious right, even an act of courage, when they should not just object, but call that protester an ungrateful jerk.


Since his team is from San Francisco, it's not surprising that it issued a mealy-mouthed statement. The anthem is a "special part" of the pre-game ceremony, the 49ers said, but "we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem." Blah, blah, cowardly blah.

The definition of "cowardly" arguably applies much more to Bozell, who is too afraid to appear on TV opposite anyone who might disagree with him (hence the vast majority of his appearances being limited to the narrow world of Fox News, Fox Business and other right-wing media) yet demands that the MRC's current target of rage, Jorge Ramos, engage in a debate with him, something he knows will never happen -- which is why he issued the dare in the first place.

Related articles on ConWebWatch:

MRC vs. A Dead Woman

The MRC vs. The Truth

Still, the MRC wasn't done hurling hate at Kaepernick. Gwinn chimed in again to bash basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for defending Kaepernick, sneering that he was part of "The left’s quest to establish disloyalty as patriotism" and taking particular offense at Kareem noting that "One of the ironies of the way some people express their patriotism is to brag about our freedoms, especially freedom of speech, but then brand as unpatriotic those who exercise this freedom to express dissatisfaction with the government’s record in upholding the Constitution" -- which is to say, people like Gwinn, who ranted in response:
Funny how liberals pick and choose when to support those who express dissatisfaction with the government’s upholding of the Constitution, right? When Colin Kaepernick calls the country racist, he’s just patriotically demanding the Constitution be upheld. But, conservatives angry at President Obama for unconstitutionally issuing legislative edicts from the White House regarding illegal immigration? Racists!

Gwinn seems to have not noticed that those "legislative edicts" -- actually, executive actions; the president, not being a part of the legislative branch, cannot issue anything legislative -- were not unconstitutional when Obama issued them and were declared so only after being challenged in court.

"Bookter" followed up by demanding that the NFL "nip this budding activism," whining that has others following in Kaepernick's footsteps means "your hopes and dreams of soon being able to finally embrace your Sunday, Monday, and Thursday escapism have been thoroughly dashed."

Curtis Houck wrote a post raging at Stephen Colbert accurately pointing out that the playing of the national anthem at sporting events started as a ploy to boost attendance. Like Gwinn, Houck just wants to shut down the conversation and shout down anyone who disagrees with him:

Whether it’s religious freedom, traditional marriage, or The Star-Spangled Banner, liberals and their allies in the media appear to be hellbent on tearing one institution down after another in the name of, in their books, decency, equality, and justice but never realize that many on their side in the form of big corporations kowtowing to the Human Rights Campaign are mostly likely just going along in the name of business.

Then, "Bookter" went on a tirade against commentator Michael Eric Dyson, whom he mocked as a "dullard" for backing Kaepernick and grousing that "Kaepernick, much to my disappointment, has been in no way punished by the league. Or, by the 49ers. In fact, not only has he not been punished, his jersey sales have skyrocketed since he began his Anthem protest."

"Bookter" also makes sure not to address the substance of Kaepernick's protest, declaring "The fact is that Colin Kaepernick has unified Americans from Donald Trump all the way to Jerry Rice in opposition to him. Which is precisely the sign of an ineffective and counterproductive protest." But didn't Bookter" also say Kaepernick's jersey sales were skyrocketing, which is arguably a sign his protest is having an effect?

Kaepernick's protest is also spreading, which also enrages "Bookter" (in addition to being another sign of an effective protest). He cheered the owner of a women's pro soccer team for moving up the playing of the national anthem so player Megan Rapinoe couldn't go through with her "clown show protest" emulating Kaepernick, adding, "Now, if only all the NFL owners would do the same..."

Even the MRC's "news" division,, got in on the Kaepernick-bashing action with a guilt-by-association article on how members of something called the Revolutionary Communist Party "were handing out flyers in support of Kaepernick."

Meanwhile, Gwinn still hadn't finished. He justified booing President Obama, as some football fans did in response to a taped message on 9/11 that played at some NFL games that day, as a more honorable protest than Kaepernick's:

Fans booing the President is not mind-boggling hypocrisy, it’s merely the other side of the free speech coin that liberals never want to admit exists. The side that disagrees with them. Moreover, the fans weren’t protesting Obama’s speech. They probably weren’t even listening to his speech. They protested and booed him as the President, who, unlike the flag and the Anthem, is not a symbol of national unity and apolitical Americana.

In fact, it could be said that a President (clears throat, especially this President) is the very definition and symbol of partisanship.

At least that’s what people tell me.

Gwinn would likely not be justifying such booing if the president was a Republican.

Which is the problem with the entire mindset behind the MRC's attacks on Kaepernick. It has decided that any protest by a conservative is by definition patriotic, while any protest critical of the conservative agenda is by definition disloyal.

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