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Did Trent Dilfer Just Say Team Chemistry is More Important Than Child Slavery?

In attempting to lecture Colin Kaepernick, Trent Dilfer reveals some weird priorities.
Randy Moss, fantasizing about ripping Trent Dilfer's throat out. Screengrab via ESPN

On Sunday morning, Trent Dilfer went on ESPN and said he was all for the cause Colin Kaepernick was protesting, but said he didn't like the way he did it because it was a distraction to the team. Sports consumers are intimately familiar with the "distraction" bogey man and the myriad pitfalls he brings with him, like, questions from reporters and…more questions from reporters? It's a bullshit end-around for telling athletes to just shut up and stick to sports and virtually everyone in the media—who perpetuate the distraction by going locker to locker asking the questions they know teammates will never answer—uses it at one point or another to criticize an athlete.


So, whatever; Dilfer trotted out an oldie-but-goodie to criticize Kaepernick. That was the driving force behind his argument, and it dovetailed into a secondary argument about how Kaepernick's role as a backup QB requires him to keep his mouth shut. Kaepernick was asked to respond to this and put Dilfer firmly in place:

Colin Kaepernick responding to Trent Dilfer's comments:
— Jennifer Lee Chan (@jenniferleechan) September 13, 2016

Kaepernick took issue with Dilfer's opinion that backups should remain quiet and he said "to me, you're telling me that my position as a backup quarterback and being quiet is more important than people's lives. I would ask him to really have a conversation with the families of people that have been murdered and see if he still feels that way. Because I bet you he doesn't, just because he hasn't experienced that kind of oppression."

To that…Dilfer did not respond well. The ESPN analyst went on his weekly radio appearance with KNBR on Tuesday to defend his comments and it sounds like Kaepernick's challenge to speak to victims and consider his own position did not sit well. Dilfer opened the show by saying he is an absolute nut for team dynamics and team chemistry and runs a lot of programs to that end. He said that influenced a portion of his comments, and then the following excerpt also played a role:

"When I was in Seattle, I was a backup to Matt Hasselbeck, I think it was 2004, and my wife and I had been introduced to some really disturbing stuff, another social injustice: childhood slavery in this country. And had gone to a couple seminars and presentations where we got really deep in the weeds about this issue, it became a passion of ours to help fight this battle of childhood slavery around the country and I had a very big platform in Seattle and I could have leveraged being a Seattle Seahawk, being an NFL quarterback, done a lot to get that message out there but I chose not to at the sake of not wanting to disrupt the team and I never wanted to draw attention to myself and take it away from Matt, the rest of the team, and our preparation to win."

Trent. Buddy. I think you really need to sort through your priorities and possibly question whether you have been completely, or just partially brainwashed by the concept of Team First. I think, and this is just me—a regular human being with thoughts and opinions and a job and co-workers I too try to support—but I think it would have been just fine if you mentioned that you thought childhood slavery was a huge problem in the country. I think that is something pretty much everyone else—even racists! (maybe, who knows)—could get on board with. I would actually like to know more about this right now, because I am pretty ignorant on the subject. Maybe I wouldn't be, some 12 years later, if you had said something.

But I don't want to hear from Trent Dilfer on any subject anymore, let alone the Kaepernick story. I cannot imagine how he is in any way, Trent Dilver is in a position to tell Colin Kaepernick he doesn't respect how he he's gone about discussing police brutality, systemic oppression, and inequality, because in 2004 he subordinated his childhood slavery activism to being a backup quarterback on a 9-7 team that took the L in the St. Louis Rams last playoff appearance.