On Sunday morning, NFL reporter Jason La Canfora appeared on CBS’ NFL Today to discuss his recent off-camera interview with Colin Kaepernick. In a short conversation with James Brown, La Canfora detailed the former 49ers quarterback’s efforts to return to the league.
“His sole focus right now is on being a quarterback,” La Canfora said. “This young man is getting up around 4 a.m. every day [to work out].” After “hours” of intense drills and exercises in New Jersey, Kaepernick goes “uptown to Harlem [to work] with kids in the community. That is his existence.”
While all this is in line with other recent reporting about Kaepernick, La Canfora appeared to break some news towards the end of the segment. “He’s not planning on kneeling,” La Canfora told Brown. “He’s planning on standing for the anthem, if given the opportunity.”
Shortly after that feature aired on NFL Today, Know Your Rights Camp, a youth campaign headed by Kaepernick, tweeted out a statement saying reports about the out-of-work QB’s anthem posture are “completely false,” and that “he has never discussed this with anyone.” Kaepernick retweeted that statement, as well as a number of other tweets that point out La Canfora’s error (including one that bemoans our “era of ‘Fake News’ reporting”).
La Canfora attempted to clarifiy the situation via his own Twitter account. He wrote that he didn’t actually talk to Kaepernick about anthem scenarios, and that he was instead referring to older reports that had not been refuted before this weekend.
He’s likely talking about a story from ESPN’s Adam Schefter that was published in March. In that piece, Schefter wrote that, according to his sources, “Colin Kaepernick will stand during the national anthem next season.” Alas, no teams signed Kaepernick during the offseason, and Schefter’s reporting was not put to the test. It’s also worth noting that March 2017 was a long time ago. It was before Charlottesville, and before Trump said kneeling players were sons of bitches, and before Kaepernick’s fellow football players took up his cause in large numbers.
Giving La Canfora the benefit of the doubt, it seems as if he made an honest mistake during a rushed television interview and didn’t adequately couch his statements. But because our entire national discourse now revolves around Colin Kaepernick, this brief, clumsy moment has become the latest salvo in the American culture wars. Behold the new conservative talking point:
So, for those keeping score at home, Kaepernick the anthem kneeler is a traitorous, ungrateful millionaire, whereas a standing Kaepernick would be an entitled and greedy phony. All Kaepernick needs to do to make these folks happy is to stop existing, though even that might not be enough.