Colin Kaepernick could have been one of the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL, says Anthony Lynn, who bemoans that the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback's message was lost in the controversy surrounding his 2016 protests.
As protests have spread across the United States in response to the death of George Floyd, an African American man who lost his life in the custody of Minneapolis police officers last week, Kaepernick and the stance he took against racial injustice and police brutality have come into focus once more.
Protesters throughout the USA have been seen taking a knee, which is what Kaepernick famously did throughout the 2016 NFL season during the playing of the national anthem.
He has not played a game since and last February settled a grievance with the NFL, having accused owners of colluding to keep him out of the league.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Chargers head coach Lynn said: "People completely misunderstood Colin and what he was trying to do.
"People talked about disrespecting the flag... the flag covers a lot — patriotism and civil rights and other things. And Colin was speaking out against the injustice and a lot of people didn't catch on to that because it was happening during the national anthem.
"They thought it was disrespectful to the flag. I was surprised by the number of people who didn't know why he was protesting.
"I got letters from people. I had people walk up to me and ask, "Coach, what are you going to do if someone on your team protests?" And I had to explain to them that Colin is taking a knee for criminal justice [reform] and police brutality and once you broke it down, they were like, "Oh, we didn't know that. We thought he was protesting the flag." And that was the case for a lot of people I came across.
"A lot of people for their own political reasons pushed out the wrong narrative. A lot of people didn't catch on as to why he took a knee. I understood and applauded him for it.
"I thought it was a shame that Colin's message got lost because people kept bringing up patriotism. It was brave for him to do that.
leadership. https://t.co/cVNwbNwQ24— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) June 2, 2020
"I have a lot of respect for that young man standing up for something outside of the "Big 3" — God, family, football — and I have to say social justice right now is challenging my priorities. Right now I can't think of anything besides social justice.
"I know when you look at 32 quarterbacks in the National Football League, Colin could have been one of the 32. If not, he could have been a quality backup. For me being an African-American head coach, this is tough."
Addressing the unrest in the wake of the death of Floyd, Lynn expressed his belief that nothing has changed since 1992, when there were riots across Los Angeles in response to the acquittal of four police officers for the usage of excessive force in the arrest and beating of Rodney King.
"I've read some good statements. I read Brian Flores from the Dolphins and I agree 100 per cent with him. I read Doc Rivers' statement and those guys spoke from the heart," said Lynn. "I think statements are needed to bring awareness to the situation.
"But I want to do something too. I don't want to just put [a statement] out there because it's the right thing to do. I want change... so I guess it starts with having this conversation and talking things out. In 1992 I remember watching L.A. burn and here we are in 2020 and I'm watching it again and it just hit me, nothing has changed.
Statement from Head Coach Brian Flores. pic.twitter.com/dJOdHHSvNT— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) May 29, 2020
"I haven't done anything to make this a better place for my son. I remember having the talk with him when he was 16 about how to handle police and then at age 30 I called him up and just had the talk with him again because I'm so scared. I want to do something but to be honest with you, I don't know what that is."
Lynn spoke of his dismay after joining a protest in Huntington Beach and speaking to those leading the demonstrations, only to be informed there was no plan or endgame.
He added: "The Chargers have done more in the community than just about any organisation I've been with. I've been out in the community, talking with Mayor [Eric] Garcetti and I've been to the juvenile detention centers to encourage young men to do something positive with their life when they get out, and City Council people about making L.A. a better place.
"But this stuff that's taking place with police brutality and unarmed black men dying and white people feeling like they can use their privilege to threaten black people like that white woman did in Central Park, that's ridiculous. How do we affect that type of change? Where's the accountability for that kind of [expletive]? That's where I'm at right now. I'm angry, I'm [expletive] off and I don't want to just put out a pretty statement."
|Cardinals owner out of hospital after coronavirus treatment|
|Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes joins Madden 99 Club|
|Haskins looking forward to future with re-named Washington team|
|Washington to retire Redskins name|
|Coronavirus: Cardinals owner Bidwill tests positive for COVID-19|
|Coronavirus: Jaguars plan for reduced-capacity crowds at 2020 NFL games|
|Coronavirus: Brady overcame big hurdle in moving to Tampa amid COVID-19 crisis|
|Coronavirus: NFL plans to stop players exchanging jerseys, embracing rivals after games|
|Hamilton ditched Kaepernick tribute after being told of ´potential consequences´|
|Julian Edelman offers to take DeSean Jackson to Holocaust Museum|
|49ers RB Mostert requests trade after failed contract talks|
|Coronavirus: Chiefs and Ravens announce plans for reduced capacities|
|Patrick Mahomes extension: Garrett´s great start, Trubisky a failure - The nine players drafted befo|
|Browns sign OT Wills to four-year rookie contract|
|Patrick Mahomes extension: ´We´re going to be a good team for a long time´ - Balance key to megadeal|
|Eagles & former team president condemn DeSean Jackson´s anti-Semitic post|
|Patrick Mahomes extension: Which quarterbacks could be next for a huge NFL payday?|
|Patrick Mahomes extension: The teams who passed on the $503m quarterback|
|NFL players call for cancelled preseason|
|Mahomes is already rivalling Brady and Manning - how the Chiefs QB stacks up in numbers|
|´Let me borrow $5´ - LeBron congratulates Mahomes on record-setting contract extension|
|Mahomes´ unique talents make him worth giant price tag|
|Chiefs sign Super Bowl MVP Mahomes to record 10-year extension|
|Chiefs & Mahomes agree to 10-year extension – reports|
|Browns TE David Njoku wants trade|
|FedEx asks Washington Redskins to change name|
|Cam Newton says Patriots contract is about respect, not money|
|Cam Newton: Belichick´s plan ´may not be what everyone thinks´, says Cousins|
|Jordan Love: Packers QB signs NFL contract|
|I will always be your #1 - Brady reminds Edelman of bromance as Cam signs in New England|
|Richard Sherman: ´Disgusting´ that Cam Newton will make so little in New England|
|Cam Newton ´will be great´ for Patriots|
|Cam Newton joins New England Patriots – reports|
|Former NFL coach, ´Hogs´ architect Joe Bugel dies at 80|
|Jordan Love can be Packers´ Taysom Hill, says Brett Favre|
|LeBron James says NFL owes Colin Kaepernick an apology|
|Panthers coach Rhule would consider kneeling during anthem|
|Stefanski: Odell Beckham to be at full strength for Browns´ camp|
|NFL Hall of Fame Game, induction ceremonies postponed to 2021|
|Buccaneers LB Shaquil Barrett 50-50 on signing franchise tag|
|Coronavirus: Cowboys´ Elliott close to workout return after COVID-19 diagnosis|
|Washington Redskins remove former owner Marshall from Ring of Fame|
|Brady and Bucs team-mates hold workout despite NFLPA warning|
|Roethlisberger pleased with where he is during rehab - Tomlin|
|Detroit Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford stepping down|
|Cowboys QB Dak Prescott signs $31.4m franchise tender - reports|
|Kaepernick set for ´hero status´, says NFL Hall of Famer Favre|
|Coronavirus: Bucs close facility after positive COVID-19 tests|
|Statues removed of former owners of Twins, Redskins for racist ties|
|President Trump suggests Saints QB Brees ´caved under the PR pressure´ by changing stance on kneelin|
|New York Jets All-Pro safety Jamal Adams requests trade|
|San Francisco 49ers WR Deebo Samuel suffers broken foot|
|Coronavirus: Chief medical officer says NFL will be ´flexible and adaptable´|
|Rams, Chargers to feature on new season of Hard Knocks|
|Coronavirus: Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson tests positive for COVID-19|
|Offensive explosion leaves San Francisco on cloud nine - Kyle Shanahan´s 49ers in numbers|
|Colin Kaepernick: Chargers coach Lynn says he fits team´s ´style of quarterback´|
|Las Vegas to host 2021 Pro Bowl|
|Lamar Jackson annoyed by Patrick Mahomes comparisons but would love his ´cannon arm´|
|NFL commissioner Goodell encourages teams to sign Kaepernick|
|Eagles Pro Bowl G Brooks tears Achilles, likely out for 2020|
|49ers hand Shanahan multi-year contract after Super Bowl appearance|
|President Trump to boycott NFL and US soccer games if players kneel|
|Baker Mayfield says he will kneel for anthem|
|J.J. Watt: Kneeling for the anthem isn´t disrespecting the flag or military|
|Alvin Kamara to attend NASCAR race after Confederate flag ban|
|Texans coach O´Brien says he will kneel with players|
|Trubisky motivated by Bears bringing in Foles: It´s a business decision|
|Dalvin Cook´s potential Vikings holdout carries more risk than reward|
|Coronavirus: Ravens coach Harbaugh calls NFL´s COVID-19 guidelines ´impossible´|