Bike lanes? We’ve got ‘em!…One.

While I appreciate the idea of there being dedicated space for our biped brothers and sisters, what exactly is the point of having only one designated “bike lane” at an intersection that historically has had that space reserved for motorists making a right turn north onto Silver at East Main? It seems unnecessary and confusing, especially given the amount of traffic that busy intersection sees being adjacent to downtown’s only gas station. No slight to bicyclists, but to me and others in the community I’ve spoken with about it–it seems like a per usual, ill-planned and half cocked idea. The City’s traffic commission (or whomever) should either embrace the idea of accommodating bicycle lanes with a sweeping execution throughout the entire City at all major intersections, or scrap the idea altogether. How awesome would it have been to have a paved bike rail trail that (much like the on in Vestal) travels from the north side of the city to the south plaza or even WalMart?
That railway has not been used since the spring flooding of 2006, and when a group of rail trail proponents addressed the Industrial Development Agency about creating a rail-trail the entire length of the unused railway—the IDA turned a blind eye to envisioning anything other than re-establishing the railway and their vision of heavy industry returning in Chenango County. Even though there were no local customers for the railway service when the trains stopped running 10 years ago, and even though there are no current or expected customers, the IDA has been unable to envision tourism as an industry that should be a part of their mission for the use of the railway corridor, which they own.
I spoke with Tom Holmes who was one of the community members advocating for the mixed use trail, and have to agree with his position that it’s ” not only sad, but also very unfortunate that they are unable to see the use of that corridor as a major attraction for young people who are interested in active transportation and living in a small community. I believe that it is a major opportunity lost to help re-vitalize our community.”
Not only would a rail trail have made commuting through the city more enjoyable for pedestrians, cyclists and health enthusiasts, it also would have addressed another ticking scenario: those who walk the unlit shoulders of Highway 12 in the dark of night to get to the only major department store in the Town of Norwich.
Many of these people are working poor who cannot afford transportation. And with the City/county’s dismal excuse for public transportation, these unlucky and less-than-fortunate have absolutely no alternative but to walk along a unlit, two-lane stretch of highway to buy their staples. Often pushing strollers. No side walks. Not even a “pedestrian” sign.
While creating precarious situation where 3,000 lb machines, bicyclists and pedestrians all meet just seems like a bad idea, and it’s only a matter of time before someone is physically hurt— lacking the foresight to make the types of enhancements other small communities are embracing is likewise damaging.
I feel it’s an absolute shame that our county’s leaders are more invested in the bleak possibility of future industry than the present safety and good of the public that has historically been dealt the dirty end of the stick by said industry, leaving them and their families high and dry whenever is was possible to make a buck elsewhere outside of the County.

News flash: tourism is a viable industry. How many people come to town for the Turkey Trot, Allegro Run for the Arts, and Colorscapes Color Dash?

Let me know when the County makes a dollar from that restored railway.

Evening Sun Football Contest comes to a close

CHENANGO COUNTY – And so marks the completion of the 10 week contest that The Evening Sun offers each and every football season, for its avid readers, residents of Chenango County, and well over 500 contestants throughout the year.
Each week in the football contest 10 local individuals along with myself – our ‘experts’ – submit their choices on 20 football games ranging from the NFL, to the collegiate level all the way down to local high school games.
This year the employees at Snyder Communications and The Evening Sun would like to congratulate all 10 experts in their participation and cooperation throughout this past 10 week span. A special congratulations goes out to Todd Hall of Ye Olde Shanty, located at 44 South Canal Street in Oxford, as Todd was our 2016 champion of the experts. Todd finishes the 10 week span on a low note – only choosing eight out of 20 games correctly, however, the lead he had amassed allowed him to safely cruise to a three point win over second place Andy Lagoe of Gilligan’s, located at 64 North Main Street in Sherburne.
Marking the contest’s completion in week 10, there was a new winner of the 39 weekly contestants – other than the 11 experts. Thomas W. Fahy, of Norwich took home the final win of the 2016 season. Fahy, a regular contestant, earned the win on the final week with a weekly high of 15 games chosen correctly – effectively beating out even the experts – while also and more importantly edging out Polly Hopson of Norwich for the $25 weekly prize – Hopson guessed 14 games correctly.
The Evening Sun would like to thank all who help make this contest possible, all who advertise with us, and especially the Parker Walsh Team, Matthews Ford, Sherburne News, Gilligan’s, Greene Bowlodrome, Ye Olde Shanty, Nina’s, McCredy Motors, Inc., and The Stadium.
Expert standings after 10 weeks: 1) Todd Hall – 8-12 on the week – 136-64 (.680) on the year; 2) Andy Lagoe – 8-12 on the week – 133-67 (.665) on the year; 3) Kevin Walsh – 11-9 on the week – 132-68 (.660) on the year; 4) Sean Miller – 11-9 on the year – 130-70 (.650) on the year; 4) Gary Tackabury – 10-10 on the week – 130-70 (.650) on the year; 5) Cameron Turner – 13-7 on the week – 128-72 (.640) on the year; 6) Scott Seiler – 14-6 on the week – 125-75 (.625) on the year; Dave Shull – 11-9 on the week – 124-76 (.620) on the year; 8) James McDaniel – 13-7 on the week – 123-77 (.615) on the year; 9) Rebecca Walling – 12-8 on the week – 121-79 (.605) on the year; 10) Mike Grant – 7-13 on the week – 119-81 (.595) on the year.
Week 10 game results: 1. Georgia 2. Oklahoma 3. Ole Miss 4. West Virginia 5. Ohio State 6. Georgia Tech 7. Stanford 8. Miami 9. Notre Dame 10. UCLA 11. Chiefs 12. Broncos 13. Cowboys 14. Seahawks 15. Rams 16. Eagles 17. Texans 18. Buccaneers 19. Redskins 20. Dolphins.
Sports Editor’s Note: Due to slow delivery of on-time mail – on a semi-weekly basis – Fahy has been named the winner as of press time on Nov. 16. During week nine of the contest, Alan Ingerto was the winner of the 39 contestants, with his 17 games chosen correctly. Ingerto would win the fourway tie-breaker at 17, due to his closest score chosen in the Virginia vs. Wake Forest game for the tie-breaker game. Ingerto did have an on-time mailed in entry, however, his submission was delivered late.

Evening Sun’s Football Contest: Week seven and eight

With the change of season’s and the constant influx of local sporting events in Chenango County, my body finally gave in to the bombardment. This past weekend I got pretty rundown, so therefore this writeip is a little recap of last week’s Football Contest as well as this week’s.

Week 7: In week seven of The Evening Sun’s weekly contest, the winner was announced as Logan Smith of Norwich. Smith took the prize with his 15 correct games guess in a week where the majority of people managed around to guess only 12 or 13 games – 10 contestants and eight contestants respectively.

Smith guessed the winning number of 15 on the backs of three very pivitol games on the week – Greene over Harpursville-Afton, and Bainbridge-Guilford over Unatego-Franklin in the high school games, and in the college world Syracuse over Virginia Tech,

Greene upset then fifth in the state ranked Hapursville-Afton when they stripped the division title from the Hornets by shutting them out 23-0. Bainbridge-Guilford managed a huge upset as well on the week – which Smith predicted correctly – as they hosted then undefeated Unatego-Franklin, beating them 25-7. Syraucuse tacked on an underdog win over Virginia Tech by a score of 31-17 – marking only their third win of the season.

Therefore, of the 45 submissions on the week, Logan Smith landed the $25 winnings for week of many upsets.

Weekly game results: 1. Chenango Forks 2. Oxford 3. Greene 4. Holland-Patent 5. Bainbridge-Guilford 6. Walton 7. Alabama 8. North Carolina 9. Arkansas 10. Ohio State 11. Army 12. Syracuse 13. Stanford 14. Redskins 15. Patriots 16. Giants 17. Texans 18. Seahawks 19. Titans 20. Chiefs.

Week 8: In this most recent week’s competition – week 8 – another Norwich resident was the winner of the $25 prize.

Janice M. Coleman guessed the magic number when she predicted 15 total games correct for the week. For the second strait week 15 has been the winning number, as an abundance of upsets seems to happen more and more often as the season progess.

Notably for week 8 of The Evening Sun’s contest, this marked the first week with a reduced amount of high school games. The reason being that playoffs in the Section IV Class D schools had begun and therefore it is always uncertain if non-playoff teams will be afforded extra games.

However, with the only local game of the 20 contest games chosen being Norwich against Oneonta, an astounding number of contestents kept it local choosing Norwich for the win. Which in retrospect was a solid choice for the 43 contestants, as Norwich pulled off the comback win over Oneonta, winning by 35-34.

While the NFL world was a mess with upsets this past week – Eagles defeating the Vikings, Colts over the Titans, Chargers over the Falcons, just to name a few – what truly set Coleman ahead of the five individuals who guessed 14 games correct was her choice of North Texas defeating Army West Point.

As we move into the last few weeks of the weekly contest, I encourage all the readers of The Evening Sun to submit a contest form – it is free of charge and there is a weekly winner regardless.

Sports Editor’s Note: The game between the Seahawks and the Cardinals of the NFL, which ended in a 6-6 tie, resulted in every individual receiving a correct choice for the 13th place slot on the form.

Weekly game results: 1. Norwich 2. North Texas 3. Louisville 4. Syracuse 5. Auburn 6. Wisconsin 7. Alabama 8. Utah 9. Penn State 10. Washington State 11. LSU 12. Colts 13. Seahawks vs. Cardinals 6-6 tie 14. Patriots 15. Lions 16. Eagles 17. Giants 18. Jets 19. Dolphins 20. Chargers.

Small Town living, Big World Problems

It’s no secret that there is an epidemic taking a hold of our small little community, and it threatens to envelop us more and more each day. That epidemic comes in the form of drugs. Drugs such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine have infiltrated our tranquil, humble abode slowly and have begun to take over.
However, there is an even bigger threat to our community that many remain unaware of; whether it’s because of the fact that they chose to ignore it, or that they simply just don’t know about it. That threat comes in the form of prescription drugs.
Many people say that marijuana is a ‘gateway’ drug.
I witnessed a court case just the other day where a Father came in to support a son who had stolen an item of great value from him in order to fuel his drug addiction. That Father testified in court that his son’s addiction began at the tender age of 15, when he was prescribed Oxycontin by a doctor to treat a minor injury. That is what, in my personal opinion, can be classified as a ‘gateway’ drug.
Whenever someone reads a story in the paper or watches a news piece regarding a drug arrest, they are quick to assume that the individual has always been a ‘less than reputable’ character. While sometimes that is true, it is usually not the case. In fact, most times, the individual was a grade-A student who happened to be led astray by hanging with the wrong crowd, or in some cases, inadvertently got addicted to prescription medications, and needed to find a cheaper alternative to reach that ‘high’ when their prescription expired.
The District Attorney’s Office and the Judges around the County are doing their best to help solve this immensely troubling problem, but by the time most of the drug-related cases reach them, it is often too late. Sure, they can sentence someone to drug treatment court, but we need to put preventative measures in place to ensure that cases never even have to get that far in the first place.
The other alternative to drug treatment court is a hard dose of reality; meaning prison. Sending these poor, young, misguided souls to prison, some of whom are first-time offenders, won’t help solve or curb the addiction problem in our community.
I believe Macklamore said it best in his new song ‘Drug Dealer’
“Best friends with the thing that’s killing me;
Enemies with my best friend, there’s no healing me.”
What people need to understand is that addiction is a disease, just like any other. Counties have multiple programs dedicated to addressing alcohol addiction and mental health issues, so why not drug addiction?
We need to start programs to help those who are afflicted with this terrible ailment, before it’s too late.
It is a welcome change to see initiatives like the ‘Shed the Meds’ event and free narcan training that was held in Greene in late September, which was also attended by Senator Fred Akshar. During this event, attendees were invited to turn in their unused prescription medications in an effort to prevent them from getting on the streets. The event also aimed to provide awareness of opioid abuse.
With more initiatives such as this, we can help raise the awareness needed in the community to get new programs instituted, which will hopefully ensure that someone else doesn’t just become a statistic.
We all need to play a part in taking back our community, and making it a happy, thriving, drug-free place to live once more.

Oil changes, yoga, golf, and air filter clocks

I had the pleasure of attending Classic Casino Night at the Northeast Classic Car Museum Friday. I found there is something I may enjoy more than Blackjack: Silent Auctions.
The items on the tables for the silent auction varied from jewelry to sports memorabilia to automotive items and beyond.
The tables – set up just before the entrance to the dining and gambling location in the NBT Bank Event Room – were filled and staffed with volunteers.
The organization of the silent auction was fantastic.
I did seek the insight from friend Joe Angelino on how it all worked. From that point, it was game on for Mrs. Managing Editor.
Golf packages, wrote my name down. Yoga set, wrote my name. Oil change? I need one, so why not? Framed and signed Syracuse University Basketball Final Four photo? Thought I needed it. A ring that was two and a half sizes too big for my fingers? You betcha. A signed football from a team I don’t like … Sure. A crockpot even though I already own two? Wrote my name down. A clock made out of a vehicle air filter … Need it.
I arrived a little late and the Kate Spade handbag and signed SU basketball were already claimed, so I lost out there.
It’s just nice to see some friendly competition outside of the gambling tables where those winnings could be used at the live auction.
A gentleman and I went back and forth on bids for a golf package at least four times.
I’d write my name on something, then eat, then go back out and check and see if someone out-bid me. If they did, I’d go up the required amount, then back into the main area.
Has the good golfing weather passed? I have no idea. But I learned that in a silent auction I have more control over the outcome than at a Blackjack table.
It was all in good fun, and all for a fantastic cause and a wonderful establishment, so it was well worth it.
Did I win everything I wrote my name on? Negative. I came to a point where I realized I wouldn’t be able to carry everything if didn’t draw the line at some point.
But I’d like to extend my gratitude to all of those who donated items for the silent (and live) auctions, the volunteers who kept the tables organized, and to the folks who went back and forth with me on various items.
Now, I can schedule my oil change and tire rotation, make sure I’m not late by checking the time on my air filter clock, while doing yoga as the husband is out playing golf (a total of 72 holes, if I’m not mistaken).

Football Contest: week six

And with this week completed, we have another winner of The Evening Sun’s weekly Football Contest. This week’s winner is David L. Wentworth of South Otselic who won the three-way tie earning the top spot and $25 weekly winnings. Wentworth moved above the other 42 contestants for the week to claim the win.

Wentworth and the two individuals who matched his score for the tie, Alan Ingerto of Smyrna and Mike Eldred of Norwich, each guessing a total of 16 games correctly – earning the top spot, besting each of the ‘experts’ for the week as well.

The three-way tie was decided after Wentworth correctly chose the Bills to defeat the Rams in the NFL, while also choosing the closest total points to the actual score of the game. Wentworth guessed a 47 point game to which the actual game panned out to amount to 49 points. Wentworth ran away with his two point win in the overtime game, as Ingerto guessed the game correctly but only guessed a total of 41 points. Eldred finished in third as he chose the Rams to beat the Bills.

A college game which gave each of the three top contestants trouble this week was Penn State verses Maryland. Each – Wentworth, Ingerto, and Eldred – chose Maryland to win, which they did not in-fact.

On the NFL level each of the top three chose the Eagles and their rookie quaterback Carson Wentz to contnue their winning wasy, however, the unpredicatle Lions overthrow that notion with a win.

Impressively, all but one of the local games was chosen correctly by the top three contestants. The only missed local game was Harpursville-Afton at Chenango Valley, by Ingerto.

Harpursville- Afton did infact command that game remaining undefeated on the season, while also upping their New York State Ranking to fourth in Class D standings.

Leading the ‘experts’ on the week’s choices was Gary Tackabury of Matthews Ford, Sean Miller of the Greene Bowlodrome, and Todd Hall of Ye Olde Shanty. These three guessed 14 correct games to further their standings on the 10 week contest.

Through five weeks: Kevin Walsh leads the ‘experts’ with 77 correct, followed by Todd Hall with 72 correct, Sean Miller with 69 correct, Gary Tackabury with 68 correct, Andy Lagoe with 66 correct, Dave Shull with 65 correct, Cameron Turner with 64 correct, James McDaniel with 63 correct, Mike Grant with 62 correct, Scott Seiler with 61 correct, and Rebecca Walling with 57 correct.

Weekly game results: 1. Susquehanna Valley 2. Sidney 3. Greene 4. Canastota 5. Bainbridge-Guilford 6. Harpursville-Afton 7. Texas A&M 8. Alabama 9. Florida State 10. -postponed- 11. Washington 12. Oklahoma 13. Penn State 14. Cowboys 15. Packers 16. Titans 17. Raiders 18. Lions 19. Redskins 20. Colts.

Sports Editor’s Note: Due to Hurricane Matthew, the game between LSU and Florida was postponed and therefore everyone received a free correct game at that spot for this week. Notably, this previous week marks the last week that local football will be heavily included due to their seasons wrapping up.

Evening Sun Football Contest: week five

With another weekend of football completed, comes another weekly winner of The Evening Sun’s Football contest.

After careful calculations of 43 entrees, Jean Tyler of New Berlin was named this week’s weekly winner of the $25 prize. Tyler was ultimately named the winner after an 11-way tie fell in her favor – with 14 correct games chosen being this week’s magic number.

Tyler edged out three individuals this week for the one-point win in the tie-breaker – Boston would win the game against Buffalo 35-3, making the total points scored 38 – to which Tyler guessed just three-points off the total score with 41-points guessed. Tyler was trailed by: Yvonne Steward, Kyle Berdua, and Betty Ann Conant – each had guessed 14 correct games and managed a four point guess off the correct 38, at 42-points, 34-points, and 34-points guessed.

One local game which gave many contestants trouble in week five was the match-up between Norwich and Chenango Valley. Coming into the game, Norwich was thought to be heavily favored, based off overall records, as CV held a 1-3 record to Norwich’s 3-1. However, what many did not know was the 1-3 CV Warriors had taken two losses at the hands of powerhouse teams such as Elmira-Notre Dame and Corning.

On the college level Florida State was upset in a big way when North Carolina managed to break FSU’s 22 game home win streak, despite a 21-point fourth quarter push by FSU.

With the Patriots losing in the NFL, being shutout for the first time ever at Gillette Stadium, the Buffalo Bills 16-0 win on Sunday sent many contestants another missed opportunity.

Leading the ‘experts’ on the week’s choices is Sean Miller of the Greene Bowlodrome who managed to lead all participants with 15 correct guesses. Leading overall for the ‘experts’ is still Kevin Walsh of the Parker Walsh Team with 63 correct guesses to just 17 misses, followed by Todd Hall of Ye Olde Shanty with 57 correct to 23 wrong.

Weekly game results: 1. Chenango Valley 2. Harpursville-Afton 3. General Brown 4. Greene 5. Walton 6. Newark Valley 7. Clemson 8. Air Force 9. Tennessee 10. Washington 11. Ohio State 12. Notre Dame 13. Oklahoma State 14. North Carolina 15. Saints 16. Vikings 17. Bills 18. Seahawks 19. Raiders 20. Steelers.

Sports Editor’s Note: A mistake was made in the Tuesday, Oct. 4, print edition of The Evening Sun. Sylvia Witchella was named the winner of the football contest, however, after a closer look Jean Tyler was the correct winner. Witchella was a part of the 11-way tie but failed to win the tie-breaker as she guessed 31-points, making her guess seven away from the correct 38-points.

Evening Sun Football Contest: week four

This past week’s Evening Sun football contest featured many more participants than previous week’s – with a total of 54 entries submitted.

Of the 54 entries, three lucky individuals managed to guess correctly 18 of the 20 games. The three-way tie came down to Daniel Eichler of Norwich, Janice Coleman of Norwich, and Sheldon Schuman of Earlville.

With the $25 weekly prize up for grabs, it was Eichler who won the prize due to his closest total points in the tie breaker game – Wisconsin at Michigan State, which ended with a Wisconsin loss at 30-6.

Closest to the 36 points scored in that game was Eichler with his 33-points guess, compared to Coleman with 41, and Schuman with 43.

The trend in games missed in week four – which saw an average score of 13 – was one local and one NFL game. The loss that Greene high school suffered to Owego, at 20-14, threw many people off as the Trojans were previously undefeated entering that game. The Vikings in the NFL impressed everyone, with another upset win, this time over the Panthers who were playing at home. These two games were a trend throughout most submissions, while each of the three who guessed 18 correct, missed these two games.

Leading the ‘experts’ after the week of games is Kevin Walsh who has an impressive 49-11 record in the contest. Following Walsh is Todd Hall with a 46-14 record, and in third is Dave Shull with 43-17 overall.

Check out Tuesday’s edition of The Evening Sun for how this most recent week’s results pan out for the ‘experts’, and so you can grab another entry form for this coming week of games, good luck!

Week four results:

1. Norwich 2. Oxford 3. Owego 4. Sherburne-Earlville 5. Deposit-Hancock 6. Unatego-Franklin 7. Harpursville-Afton 8. Ole Miss 9. Michigan 10. Tennessee 11. Baylor 12. Stanford 13. Texas A&M 14. Washington 15. Raiders 16. Ravens 17. Broncos 18. Colts 19. Chiefs 20. Vikings

Evening Sun Football Contest: week three

This marks the second week of The Evening Sun’s Football Contest, and what will mark my first week doing a brief recap of the week and what is to come.

If you haven’t checked out the The Football Contest, I encourage you to do so, as it is a fun way to get involved, stay up to-date on football games, and while you’re at it you get caught up on all your local news provided in The Evening Sun. Each week, I provide 20 picks ranging from high school varsity, college and even NFL. Choosing these picks has been something I look forward to as it is interesting to me to choose the most anticipated games, while also mixing in some good match-ups that not many people will have known about. This provides each contestant a fair chance as, they are required to submit their choices of the 20 games, free of charge and before 5 p.m. each Friday afternoon.

Following the weekend onslaught of football, Friday – high school, Saturday – collegiate, and Sunday – NFL, I tally up the the correct and wrong answers to find the winner. If there is a tie it goes down to the tie-breaker selection which you provide a total number and points for. The winner with the correct tie-breaker and closest number of points is deemed the winner.

Each week one contestant is rewarded for their football knowledge or lucky guessing with a $25 check from The Evening Sun. If however, a contestant guesses all 20 games correctly they are eligible for $100 that week. Check out any Evening Sun edition on a Tuesday for the full rundown of scores and picks for that week, as well a full writeup on the rules.

As for this week, out of the 38 total entries it was Sylvia Figary of Norwich who would earn the $25 weekly prize. Figary wouldn’t do so very easily however, as she would need to go down to the tie-breaker to decide the winner of the six-way tie at 15 correct games.

Figary would choose a final score in the tie breaker of 30-27 in favor of Ohio State over Oklahoma, giving her a total of 57-points in that game.

Her one point contest win would be over second place, Jeff Gezibowski of Norwich. Gezibowski would also guess 15 correct games, but would falter in the tie-breaker guessing a final score of 35-21, giving him a total of 56-points.

Needless to say the Ohio State vs. Oklahoma State game would see a final score of 45-24, making Figary’s 57-points the closest to the official grand total of 69-points scored in that game.

For anyone wondering the final outcome of scores for the rest of the contestant: six people would tie with 15 correct games, five people would tie at 14 correct games, eight people would tie with 12 correct games, four people would have 11 correct games, four people would have 10 correct games, three people would only choose nine correct, and one unlucky person would only select eight correct games.

This gave the week a median score of 12, which surprisingly for myself was one more than I guessed correctly.

While tallying up the scores I noticed some trends of games that many people missed, including myself.

To begin the Iowa against North Dakota State game would see North Dakota kick a field goal to take the lead as time expired for the 23-21 win. This was somewhat of a surprise to the contestants, as well as myself, as only four people chose North Dakota State over Iowa.

Another big surprise was the Michigan State and Notre Dame game. This would end in a 36-28 Michigan State win. This pick surprisingly wouldn’t be chosen by any of the people in the six-way tie. I would also miss the correct choice, choosing Notre Dame, as only seven contestants would pick Michigan State for the win.

In the NFL the Vikings vs. the Packers game gave people a lot of trouble. The injury riddled Vikings, despite losing Adrian Peterson, would pull off the win over the Packers. Only eight people in the contest would choose the Vikings over the Packers.

Leading the way this week for the ‘experts’ was Kevin Walsh of Parker Walsh Team, who had an impressive 17 correct games. Walsh would however miss each of the choices mentioned above, as those marked his only three misses this week.

After Walsh’s 17 correct this week, he has jumped up in the standings after two weeks, for a two-way tie in first at 31 correct games to nine misses.

Make sure to grab next Tuesday’s edition of The Evening Sun, Sept. 27, for results and the next 20 picks for week three of The Football Contest.

Good luck football fans.

Oh, Colin Kaepernick

Honestly I don’t even know where to start with my thoughts on Kaepernick. This is not a column to bash him or what he stands for by any means, but simply to call into question his morality when he is faced with adversity in his life, and his choice of timing in his protest of sitting during the playing of the national anthem.
I believe in The United States that freedom of speech is a right that all citizens should enjoy to the fullest. Simply put, the message Kaepernick has portrayed in the national media, and to the world is a relatively good message. We need change, and we need it now.
The war on terror is a sham, minorities are oppressed in today’s society, and most importantly our troops should always be praised for the sacrifices they have and are currently making, whether the war is believed to be just or not. And truly I believe that Colin Kaepernick can speak his mind however he sees fit, that right is his, due to the freedoms he has as a United States citizen.
However, when a former star and currently struggling athlete is known to be generally somewhat self-centered in their approach to life and the game of football, it calls into question the way Kaepernick proceeded to almost out of the blue care about the causes and struggles that do plague our once great country.
Colin Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Heidi Russo, a 19-year-old single white woman. Kaepernick’s biological father was not present in his life from day one, therefore his biological mother put him up for adoption to which his adopted parents took over – Rick and Teresa Kaepernick.
Under their guidance as parents, Colin took off to begin what seemed to be a promising career in the sport of football. Kaepernick even was noted to write a letter to himself at a young age, where he predicted he would be a starting NFL quarterback for either the Packers or 49ers.
After a hugely successful four years attending college at Nevada, Colin was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round of the 2011 draft.
His career with the 49ers pointed toward even more success than he had already achieved at the college level. As just in his second year in the NFL, he took over the reigns for an injured Alex Smith in week 10, and became the starting quarterback for the 49ers, completing his childhood prediction.
That very same year, he finished the season with 1,814 passing yards, 10 passing TDs, 3 INT, 415 rushing yards, and 5 rushing TDs, en route to a Superbowl appearance, where he ultimately fell short to the Superbowl champion Ravens, losing 34-31.
Kaepernick continued his successes in 2013, playing his first full season in the NFL and posting a stat line of 3,197 passing yards, 21 passing TDs, 8 INT, 524 rushing yards, and 4 rushing TDs. The 49ers would lose in the NFC championship game to the Seahawks on an interception thrown by Kaepernick.
After the 2013 season it all went downhill for the 49ers and their young budding star of a quarterback. On June 4, 2014, Kaepernick signed a six year contact with the 49ers, worth up to $126 million, with $54 million in potential guarantees, and $13 million fully guaranteed. This contract has Kaepernick signed through 2020 season.
The 49ers failed to make playoffs after being early season favorites in 2014, and head coach and big Kaepernick supporter Jim Harbaugh, would elect to leave the 49ers to return to coaching at the college level once again.
Kaepernick would post a 2014 stat line of: 16 games played, 3,369 passing yards, 19 passing TDs, 10 INT, 639 rushing yards, and 1 rushing TD – missing the playoffs for an underwhelming 8-8 regular season record. This would be the last year Kaepernick would see any true successes at the quarterback position.
This past season, 2015, under the tutelage of first time head coach Jim Tomsula, Kaepernick seemed to be in a make or break year for his NFL career. In week 8 of the regular season, Kaepernick was benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert (10th overall pick of the 2011 draft and still currently the 49ers starting quarterback). The 49ers finished the season with a 5-11 regular season record, missing the playoffs for the second year in a row. Some speculated that the new offensive system was not a good fit for Kaepernick, as he struggled mightily.
Kaepernick would post a stat line last year of: 1,615 passing yards, 6 passing TDs, 5 INTs, 256 rushing yards, and only one rushing TD within his span of starts that season.
Fast forward to pre-season of the 2016 NFL season, currently under the six year contact that Kaepernick is signed to, he is scheduled to make roughly $19 million when all is said and done. This astronomical number of a cap hit has had insiders speculating for months over whether or not the 49ers would trade, or possibly cut Kaepernick before the start of the new season. And to make matters worse all reports have indicated that he would serve once again as a backup quarterback to Blaine Gabbert in 2016, due to dimishing physical ability.
If somehow you have escaped the onslaught of the Colin Kaepernick controversy this past week, it should be cleared up that Colin Kaepernick was noticed to be actively protesting the playing of the national anthem at each of the 49ers pre-season games thus far, as he has elected to sit during that time.
On August 26, following the pre-season game that day, Kaepernick was quoted explaining his actions, saying, “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.”
Following the attention that Kaepernick’s actions and words have garnered, the 49ers did released a statement saying, “The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”
While peaceful protesting has done wonders for The United States, helping to slowly but surely chip away racial and sexual prejudices, as well as affording citizens many other rights, one can not help but wonder why Kaepernick, who has never been a huge voice in the activism world – instead opting for magazine shoots and headphone deals – chooses the 2016 pre-season as his platform to reach what he claims is a racially prejudice America.
One would wonder why a once thought to be up-and-coming star – who unseated a former first overall draft choice from their starting job (Alex Smith) – and was a play away from his second Superbowl appearance in that many years, would not simply put his nose to the grindstone and attempt to win his starting job back.
Would it not be more impactful if a starting quarterback making roughly $19 million dollars a year for an NFL team, spoke out against police brutality and the oppression of minorities? It would seem to be much harder to cut a star quarterback saying and doing these things, rather than a physically struggling, former star quarterback, making $19 million a year, who is just magically voicing his opinion the week before final roster cuts.
It would seem to many, that this is a desperation move by Kaepernick – possibly a smart one – as the deadline to have the final NFL 53-man roster looms this coming Saturday, September 3, at 4 p.m. Eastern Time.
The 49ers are now placed in a very tight situation, as Kaepernick assumedly planned. Under a once again new regime at head coach, Kaepernick has been reportedly struggling in the new offense of head coach Chip Kelly. Notably Kelly moved on from The Eagles after his short stay as their head coach. During that time, many NFL players spoke out, claiming Kelly was a racist coach. The Eagles have obviously since moved on, after Kelly posted regular season records of 10-6, 10-6, and 6-9. Do the allegations of Chip Kelly being a racist coach have anything to do with Kaepernick speaking out? I think not.
Not long ago, the problem of having a roster spot open for a player garnering as much money as Kaepernick, to simply sit bench, was a problem of waiting to see if Kaepernick would eventually catch on to the a new offensive system.
However, new systems on the football field have not been Kaepernick’s strong-point as he has not posted a ‘succesful’ campaign since the departure of Jim Harbaugh.
Kaepernick’s national anthem protest places the organization as a whole in a squeeze, as they must now balance their salary cap, while also taking into account the performance of a player who brings much controversy and off-field noise to a struggling organization.
Generally speaking, unless you are a superstar athlete, off field antics and political protests are put to bed relatively quickly in the sporting world. As they rightfully should be, it is a business after all, and there is always someone who can replace you.
There is an underlying truth that runs through most sporting organizations in the world. Front office management and coaching staffs do everything in their power to avoid drama on and off the field, however, as I said there are exceptions to this rule as players who consistently perform at a high rate are tolerated. Kaepernick is not currently one of those exceptional players, he is a fading backup quarterback in a league that needs production at his position in order to be successful.
So, while I highly respect Kaepernick for his words and his want to change a truly broken United States. I find it hard to believe he did not simply take advantage of the situation he was in, seeing as come this Saturday he may not have that stage to project his voice anymore, if roster cuts or a trade does in fact happen.

© 2016 Snyder Communications/The Evening Sun
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