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ESPN host: Kaepernick is a victim, NFL is to blame for national anthem scandal [VIDEO]

San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick (7) and Eric Reid (35) kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

Despite the fact that the sports media giant, ESPN, has seen a significant drop in viewership leading to massive layoffs of on-air talent, they still seem to not have learned their lesson about mixing liberal politics into their sports coverage.

On Thursday’s edition of First Take, hosts Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman debated over (who else?) Colin Kaepernick. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback was recently compared to legendary boxer Muhammad Ali by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett.

Kellerman decided to not only break down how Kaepernick is similar to the Greatest of All Time, but went a step beyond to put some of the blame on the NFL for Kaepernick’s current unemployment situation.

“Colin Kaepernick […] did not go looking for a protest. It came to him,” Kellerman explained. “He was asked to stand for the national anthem. You do not have to stand for the national anthem. And even if it it was a rule that you did, is that Colin Kaepernick injecting politics in the NFL? No. That’s the NFL injecting politics by playing the national anthem and putting pressure on you to stand for it in the first place.”

Wait, what?

Colin Kaepernick is the victim while the NFL is the big bad guy in all of this? I get that Kaepernick can do whatever he wants and by living in this great country he has the right to not stand for the anthem. However, playing the national anthem is not injecting politics. It’s injecting respect for country. It’s injecting national pride. It’s injecting the reminder that men and women died to protect our rights and freedoms.

I respect Kaepernick’s right to stand up (or in this case, kneel) for his beliefs. But the NFL (and basically any athletic competition where the anthem is played) shouldn’t be punished and accused for being political when all they’re doing is keeping up with tradition.

Watch the whole excerpt from Kellerman below: