Red Sox Mookie Betts weighs in on Colin Kaepernick

The Red Sox Mookie Betts is the son of a Viet Nam veteran and recently was asked his opinion of the Colin Kaepernick situation. His response was well put.

The Red Sox Mookie Betts has weighed in on the Colin Kaepernick protest situation. Why? Betts is somewhat of a reticent individual who lets his talent speak for him, but he is also the son of a Viet Nam veteran who was honored for his service at Fenway Park. The natural instinct of the media is to seek out comments since Betts is also black. A virtual inquisitive two ‘fer.

Watching Betts go through the various pre and post-game media intrusions I am reminded of just how grounded Betts is – no doubt the result of strong family ties. Betts manages to stay focused, be respectful – certainly a task with reporters – and the Kaepernick discussion brings that out.

Betts responded to the questions directed to him clearly and articulately and expressing the pattern I have noticed in the responses to Kaepernick. There was also no framing of the questions in the interview with the intent of a “gotcha” moment. Betts response was succinctly put and handled the questioning with the same diligence as when a pitcher attempts to sneak an inside fastball by him. Nice to see Betts step into a situation other than baseball.

“My dad fought for this country. We may be in a completely different spot if we don’t have those people to go out and protect us. So I’ll always make sure [to stand.]” Mookie Betts

Kaepernick’s protest may not have had the desired impact since it deflected off the issue(s). The issues that Kaepernick mentioned are significant and certainly need discussion since there is validity to them, but that may not happen for Kaepernick. The issue becomes his method of protesting and not what he chooses to shine the light of debate upon.

I am also under the assumption that Kaepernick had previously done this and it went unnoticed. I will certainly give Kaepernick the credit for not seeking out the media limelight by reaching out with a “just watch me” missive. Kaepernick is no dim wit. A Wonderlic score of 38 is notable and he has handled the media glare with a certain level of aplomb.

“Two minutes, three minutes,” he said. “Pay your respects for those three minutes and say thank you for your service.” Mookie Betts

Protest is not a new concept to baseball players and baseball history is dotted with sit-ins, labor disputes and inharmonious situations with both fans and owners. Occasionally they will even protest having to wear embarrassing throwback uniforms as Chris Sale did. But sometimes when others use the field as a stage it backfires. Enter Rick Monday.

“The very symbol that represents the rights and freedoms for all of us in this country is the flag,” Rick Monday

Monday was a competent major league player for almost 20 seasons. In 1976 at Dodger Stadium an attempt was made to burn an American flag on the field and Monday cruised into action and rescued the flag. Monday has used that flag for decades to raise funds for veterans and has even refused a million dollar offer for it.

Politics are not new to baseball.

The Commissioner has often been a political animal and has to be to safeguard the anti-trust exemptions baseball receives. The necessary evils of the position are to be an interface between legislatures, fans, players and unions. A very public position.

Political involvement by baseball players is a rare occurrence as most are rather reticent about public displays over political and social issues. Is it because of a collective lack of interest? Or possibly the simple fact that they have little desire to be open to another level of criticism? The simple answer – at least to me – is it is better to keep politics, religion and baseball a separate matter.

Occasionally an outspoken player does surface and one need goes no further than Curt Schilling for an introduction to how being outspoken can impact a career. Schilling is even considering a run in Massachusetts for a senate seat. Others have entered politics once their careers have finished – both Jim Bunning and Vinegar Bend Mizell come to mind.

The way Betts handled himself is impressive. Often athletes will dig a verbal hole for themselves from which they have difficulty preventing from expanding exponentially. Betts managed to avoid the pitfalls and the issue remains what it is – a well-constructed view from a young man who happens to be a baseball star.

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