With the recent protest by Colin Kaepernick, nearly every coach in the NFL had to discuss with the media how they would have handled it and for the Rams Fisher was able to answer with certainty after having his players make political statements in the past.
This past week the San Francisco 49ers had a player make a political statement that has had mixed reactions from peers, media, and fans. The 49ers and head coach Chip Kelly both stated that it was Colin Kaepernick’s right as an American citizen to not stand during the pregame national anthem ceremony. Kaepernick later stated “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” It was later floated around that Kaepernick’s statement coupled with his poor play would lead to him being cut, something that now seems unlikely.
When the question arose to Jeff Fisher about the Kaepernick situation, he answered as though he had been in that situation because he has. Two years ago in a before a November game against the Oakland Raiders, multiple Rams receivers made an entrance showing the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture. It was an especially volatile statement due to the national attention it gained and how close in proximity the incident was to the Rams. Fisher stated after the display by the Rams receivers that the participating Rams would not be fined because they were exercising their right to free speech. Fisher also stated that when his players want to make a political statement that he would prefer to hear about it before they do it but that he will not advise them on whether to carry out with it.
Overall this should not be a surprise that players are using their platforms to make a statement. Whether one agrees with the statement being made or not, this is what we want our athletes and role models to do. Stand up for their beliefs and provide feedback on why they are doing such.