Ravens' Head Coach John Harbaugh talks about San Francisco 49ers' quaterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to sit during the national anthem. (Jeff Zrebiec/Baltimore Sun video)
Every time I hear Colin Kaepernick's name, I think back to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on Feb. 3, 2013.
I wonder what would have happened had the 49ers' starting quarterback sat during Alicia Keys' electric national anthem and brought attention to the racial divide that existed then.
Would you even remember who won the game? (It was Ravens 34, 49ers 31, just in case you forgot). After all, the Super Bowl is known as much for its excess than excellence on the field. Whether it's the hype leading up to the game, the bloated media day, the exhaustive pregame coverage and what we spend on parties to watch the game, the play on the field rarely matches.
I've lost count of how many times we wrote Kaepernick's name in stories leading up to the game. For sure, every story about the Ravens' defense centered on how to stop him. He was that good.
During the game Kaepernick was 16 of 28 passing for 302 yards and a TD, and he also rushed for 62 yards on seven carries, one for 15 yards and a TD. Had the 49ers won, he almost certainly would have been Super Bowl MVP.
And imagine if he sat for the national anthem before the game.
The Internet would have exploded. We would not have cared about deer antler spray, conspiracy theories surrounding the electrical outage nor the best commercial. Would we have even noticed that Joe Flacco was MVP and going to Disney World?
Every story would have included Kaepernick's stand against racial injustice.
Sadly, Kaepernick is now a second-string quarterback on a really bad football team. He has his third coach in three years and he's getting paid nearly $12 million to back up Blaine Gabbert — yes, Blaine Gabbert. There's a real chance he could get cut this week for football reasons, not social reasons.
But again, imagine if he sat for the national anthem before the Super Bowl on the world's biggest stage — and not before a meaningless preseason game.