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What Had Happened Was: 9/2/16

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Was it just us or did Thursday almost feel like a full slate of weekend football? We had New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (who actually played!) swapping jerseys with New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. after their game Thursday night, rookie Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch playing well and rookie Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff stinking it up. We even had an overtime college football game involving the University of Tennessee. But the most interesting thing to happen Thursday night once again involved San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his courage.

Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem in Thursday night’s game between the 49ers and San Diego Chargers, saying he came to the new position after a long talk with Nate Boyer, a former U.S. Army Green Beret and NFL long snapper, and 49ers safety Eric Reid at the team hotel.

“We were talking to him about how can we get the message back on track and not take away from the military, not take away from pride in our country but keep the focus on what the issues really are,” Kaepernick said. “As we talked about it, we came up with taking a knee because there are issues that still need to be addressed and there was also a way to show more respect for the men and women that fight for this country.”

Despite being booed by Chargers fans every time he was on the field, Kaepernick played well, completing 11 of his 18 passes for 103 yards, and he led the 49ers to a touchdown on the game’s opening possession. It was a good, important night for Kaepernick even before he spoke to the media after the game. But that’s when things got fascinating. Check out what Kaepernick plans to do now:

The 49ers quarterback was embroiled in something of a social media storm Thursday morning after old photos of him wearing socks depicting cops as pigs made the rounds, but he deserves a huge salute for the way he handled everything. If his new plan of action wasn’t impressive enough, Yahoo Sports reported that Kaepernick has talked to the following people this week, trying to best see how his message can make the most impact: former Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown, former Los Angeles Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and civil rights activists Harry Edwards and Amos Brown.

It should be noted, too, that Kaepernick’s protest is already working. Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane followed the quarterback’s lead Thursday night:

“I just like what he’s doing, and I’m standing behind him,” Lane said. “It’s something I plan on keep on doing, until I feel like justice is being served.”



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Our friend and former NFL player Emmanuel Acho detailed the excruciating pain and suffering that is the darkest day in the NFL: cut day:

Let me take you back to Aug. 30, 2013 — all 32 teams had just concluded their final preseason game and it was the night before the front office of each organization would trim its roster from 75 players to the official 53-man roster. At the time, I was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. That Friday, our owner was kind enough to throw a team barbecue for the players, coaches, staff and all of their families. It all seemed pretty harmless. I finished packing my bags in preparation to head to the airport and watch my alma mater’s home opener directly after the barbecue. I was all but sure I was going to make the roster. I pulled up to 1 Novacare Way, the Eagles’ practice facility, and as the gate attendant let me in, I got a call from a teammate. “Bro, I just got cut,” he said. “What do you mean you just got cut, aren’t you at the barbecue?” I asked. He replied, “Yeah, but the grim reaper is inside.” My stomach dropped as I realized this wasn’t your normal barbecue. I entered the building as theMission Impossible theme song played in my head. My goal was to get to the practice fields, where the barbecue was taking place, without getting the notorious tap on the shoulder followed by, “Please return your playbook.” Moments later, my mission was complete. I made it to the fields unscathed, barbecued ribs in hand and a smile from ear to ear.


Ryan Cortes is a staff writer for The Undefeated. Lemon pepper his wings.

Rhiannon Walker is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a drinker of Sassy Cow Creamery chocolate milk, an owner of an extensive Disney VHS collection, and she might have a heart attack if Frank Ocean doesn't drop his second album.