Hat's off, Colin

Kaepernick's hat choice may seem trivial, but image is everything in digital age
07/08/2013 5:16 PM ET
By Doug Williams

San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick needs to learn his actions have consequences.(AP)
On the Fourth of July, a professional athlete created a stir by wearing a hat.

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has made headlines for wearing a Miami Dolphins hat, despite the fact that he plays on the San Francisco 49ers.

How is this news, you ask? Because on America's birthday somebody thought it was a good use of their time to take a picture with their phone.

I understand why 49ers fans may be upset. If you're a 49ers fan, you're probably just wondering why Kaepernick would leave the house wearing a Dolphins hat. It's such a simple decision that would have saved him a lot of time and energy. Show your employer some respect. And guess what? It's not an invasion of privacy because in this day and age, even private parties are public affairs.

The problem is that I also understand Kaepernick's point of view here. It IS, after all, just a hat. It doesn't mean that he's no longer going to play hard for the 49ers and it also doesn't mean that he isn't going to try and bring them to the Super Bowl like he did last year. There are absolutely no on-field implications with his style choices.

Where I lose Kaepernick, however, is during his aggressive reaction on Instagram, in which he said "I'm goin wear what I want regardless of what you think" underneath a picture of him holding the infamous Dolphins hat.

If Kaepernick had just simply let this blow over, people would have forgotten about it and moved on. They would have formed their own conclusions. One of which would have been that he probably made a simple mistake. But by posting the picture and caption on Instagram, Kaepernick has made it obvious that he was making a point by wearing the hat. Maybe he's sick of the spotlight and living his life based on what his publicist tells him to do. Maybe he misses being able to do whatever he wants. Regardless, his angry reaction shows us that he didn't make a simple mistake -- he wore the hat with pride and would wear it again. Because if you've ever seen Colin Kaepernick interviewed, it's clear that he's at the very least smart enough to know that if he wears a Dolphins hat to a party in LA somebody is going to take a picture.

What's sad is that this has nothing to do with Colin Kaepernick the quarterback. It's all about Colin Kaepernick the man. It shows that even after only one year of stardom in the sport, he may not be mature enough to handle it. Again, forget the hat itself. He probably just thought it was a cool hat and wore it because of that. After all, he grew up a Packers fan and went to school in Nevada, so there's hardly any proof of a Miami allegiance. The point is though that Kaepernick is simply the latest celebrity athlete to not understand that his decisions are more important now than they have ever been before. Whether he thinks it's right or wrong doesn't matter … but it turns out that the team name on the hat does. 

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