In a vice-presidential debate in 1988, Senator Lloyd Bentsen and Senator Dan Quayle had a “moment.” Quayle compared himself to former president John F. Kennedy. In response, Bentsen famously said, “I knew Jack Kennedy…Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine…Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

Fast forward today. Bentsen, were he alive, might address a former NFL quarterback the same way.

“Mr. Kaepernick, I know JJ Watt…JJ Watt is a friend of mine…you Mr. Kaepernick are no JJ Watt.”

Kaepernick, whose claim to fame is leading the San Francisco 49ers to defeat in Super Bowl XXIX versus the Baltimore Ravens, and being the face of the NFL “kneel down” movement during the national anthem, hasn’t played an NFL game in nearly three years. However somehow he believes the NFL owes him a position as quarterback.

Meantime, JJ Watt of the Houston Texans, who is on injured reserve for the rest of the year, quietly establishes himself as a patriot. Let’s compare.

JJ Watt is an outstanding NFL player, having been chosen to the Pro-Bowl numerous times. He is also widely recognized for his philanthropic efforts. Last week, Watt announced a collaboration with Reebok, introducing a black and camo JJ III Valor training shoe.

The shoe pays tribute to Watts’ grandfather James, who served honorably in the Korean War.

Watts announced that part of the proceeds of the shoe, $5/pair, would be donated to the Honor Flight Network.

The Honor Flight Network, according to their website is:

“A non-profit organization dedicated to providing veterans with honor and closure.”

HFN transport war veterans to Washington, DC to visit and reflect at their memorials, with priority given to more “senior” veterans such as WWII vets and veterans who are terminally ill.

Watts announced the new shoe in a Twitter post. Watts stated:

“I’m so proud and excited to partner with the Honor Flight. I truly appreciate, from the bottom of my heart, everything that you’ve done and it’s an honor for me to be able to gift these shoes as a tiny symbol of thanks for the sacrifices you’ve made for our country.”

Earlier this year, Watts and Reebok collaborated on the “Valor II”, which offered a 30% discount for military members and their families.

Watts also donated 100% of his personal proceeds from the shoe sales to the Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Foundation. This foundation supports Special Forces and their families, as well as family members of fallen first responders.

In 2016, Watts and Reebok worked together on the JJI “Military Edition”, made to honor veterans and which was inspired by Watts’ appreciation for servicemen and women. Watts said, in part:

“I chase a ball around for a living. These men and women lay their lives on the line to secure and protect our freedom. They are real American heroes.”

Let us now compare JJ Watt to the diva Colin Kaepernick.

During the 2016 pre-season, Kaepernick decided to start calling attention to himself by refusing to stand for the national anthem. Perhaps the fact that he had lost his starting job in 2015 made him to decide to make himself relevant by first sitting, then kneeling for the national anthem.

When asked why he was protesting the national anthem, Kaepernick answered:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. TO me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave, and getting away with murder.”

The last statement was a not so subtle shot at law enforcement.

Kaepernick jumped in both feet first on the “hands up, don’t shoot” fantasy that was being perpetrated after the Michael Brown police-related shooting in Ferguson, MO.

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Kaepnerick’s statement drew the wrath of police officers and law enforcement supporters, and it became especially bad after pictures were released showing Kaepernick wearing socks with pictures of pigs dressed as police officers. Of course, he justified this class act.

“I wore these socks, in the past, because rogue cops are allowed to hold positions in police departments, not only put the community in danger but also put the cops that have the right intentions in danger by creating an environment of tension and mistrust.”

Apparently, Kaepernick fancies himself as some type of “social justice warrior.”

Just last week, Kaepernick, ever the diva, was given an opportunity by the NFL to resurrect his failed career.

In fact, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was acting as a defacto advocate for Kaepernick, encouraging NFL teams to consider him.

This was part of the NFL sellout to “stars” like Jay Z last year with their new social justice initiatives, while ignoring the domestic violence problem in the NFL.

Given the amount of starting and backup NFL quarterbacks who have gone down to injury this season, and with nobody giving Kaepernick the time of day, it is obvious that NFL owners are not interested in having a self-important diva on their teams.

According to the Washington Post, the NFL, in trying to help Kaepernick out, last week invited all 32 NFL teams to Atlanta to view a workout by Kaepernick, which was unprecedented in the NFL. 25 out of 32 teams sent representatives to Atlanta to view the workout.

Just under a half-hour before the workout was supposed to start, Kaepernick canceled the workout and decided to move the event to a location 60 miles away.

As expected, a majority of the NFL teams decided not to drive 60 miles to see a quarterback who hasn’t played in three years. An estimated seven or eight teams followed him there.

In fact, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told a Dallas radio station that the Cowboys wouldn’t be participating, stating the workout “wasn’t about football.” And Jones appears to have been correct.

Kaepernick showed up to the workout wearing a “Kunta Kinte” t-shirt. This was an obvious reference to a character from the 1970’s era book and mini-series by Alex Hailey named “Roots.”

Kinte was a slave in the South prior to and during the Civil War. Obviously, Kaepernick was trying to send a message by wearing this shirt, making himself akin to a “slave” to NFL owners.

Initially, the workout facilitated by the NFL was supposed to be held in private, with no outside media being allowed into the event. It was going to be taped by NFL Films, which would provide copies to any team that requested it.

However, Kaepernick and his handlers wanted a “transparent” process and wanted their own video of the event. An agreement was worked out and Kaepernick was allowed to have a videographer film the workout.

Kaepernick worked out in black shorts and a Nike black tank top. The possibility that this was a publicity stunt for his affiliation with Nike cannot be overlooked.

Last year, Nike produced an advertising program with Kaepernick that was widely panned by critics. The ad, with a picture of Kaepernick had text that read:

“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Apparently, Nike doesn’t sacrifice too much for its workers in Asia. According to Newsweek, workers for Nike and other companies work ten hours per day, six days a week and that temperatures inside the factories go as high as the high 90 degree range.

Neither Nike or the other companies pay what would be considered a living wage, estimated at just under $400 a month.

The contrast between Watt and Kaepernick cannot be understated.

One is an unabashed supporter of the military and first responders, and puts his money where his mouth is.

The other is an unabashed supporter of people like Michael Brown, a criminal. JJ Watt is an American hero. Colin Kaepernick is just a self-important prima donna.


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