Franco Harris, four-time Super Bowl
champion. (Football Legends.)
When it comes to former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who became infamous in 2016 for not standing for the national anthem to protest alleged police brutality, NFL legend Franco Harris, who won four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers, said Kaepernick has the right to express his views but when he puts on the team jersey, the team and the fans come first.
Harris added that if Kaepernick had played with the Steelers back in the day and tried to kneel during the anthem, then the two meanest players he knows, "Mean" Joe Greene and Jack "Splat" Lambert would have dealt with the situation.
"We had two of the meanest guys in football who I think would have dealt with it," said Harris, "and that would’ve been Joe Greene and Jack Lambert.”
Franco Harris, a fullback who played for the Steelers from 1972 to 1983 and rushed for 91 touchdowns in his career, made his remarks during a Sept. 2 interview on Free Speech Broadcasting, hosted by Mediaite columnist John Ziegler.
During the interview, Ziegler said, “The biggest issue politically in this NFL season has been the treatment of former quarterback – I guess you call him former quarterback – Colin Kaepernick, and whether or not he’s being blackballed by the NFL because of his protests through the national anthem over his concerns, I guess, over police abuse. I know that a guy you have a lot of respect for, [NFL legend] Jim Brown, has criticized Colin Kaepernick for what he chose to do. What is Franco Harris’ assessment of the Colin Kapernick issue?”
Harris said, "Well, it’s been my position from the start that we always have social issues that we’re dealing with, but that you stand for the flag, and that we’re all behind the flag."
"Now, if someone has certain stands that they want to take, I mean, that’s fine," said Harris. "But if Colin felt that he wanted to make a point – which is fine, which is his right to get involved in any organization that he really wants – but when he puts on that suit [team uniform], when he steps out on that field, now it’s more than just him. It’s his team mates, it’s the NFL, and it’s the fans."
"And when he puts that suit on, it’s not just about him, his position and the things that he wants to back and he wants to believe in -- because the team has to come first," said Harris, who was a Super Bowl MVP and who made 307 receptions in his career.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. (Pinterest.)
Ziegler then asked, “What would [Coach] Chuck Noll have said to you – when you were in the Steelers – if you said, ‘Hey coach, I’m just going to sit down during the national anthem.’ What would Chuck Noll have said?”
Harris answered, “I don’t think it would have been Chuck. I think there would have been two guys, just like [Steelers linebacker] James Harrison takes care of it today, and he told, ‘hey, baa, baa, baa.’ So, I saw guys – we had two of the meanest guys in football who I think would have dealt with it that way, and that would’ve been Joe Greene and Jack Lambert.”
Jack "Splat" Lambert, left, and "Mean" Joe Greene, when they played for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Mean” Joe Greene and Jack "Splat" Lambert, aka "Dracula" because of his missing front teeth, are football legends, both of whom played for the Pittsburgh Steelers with Franco Harris and won four Super Bowls (1975, 1976, 1979, 1980).
James Harrison is a linebacker with the Steelers. He has won two Super Bowls (2006, 2009).
Jack Lambert, also known as "Dracula"
because of his missing front teeth, when he
played for the Pittsburgh Steelers.