In 2016, as Colin Kaepernick knelt for the national anthem during San Francisco 49ers games, he had many critics.
Nearly 4 years later, some are experiencing a change of heart.
Kelly Stafford, wife of Detroit Lions QB Matt Stafford, recently issued an apology to Colin Kaepernick for disagreeing with his position.
In an excerpt of her Instagram post, Kelly said,
“When Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem, I had strong feelings about it. Even when he kept saying it had nothing to do with the flag or military, I didn’t listen. I kept not listening to him or anyone else and let the political rhetoric persuade me that him kneeling was disrespectful to our military.”
Change of Heart
According to Kelly, she and Matt have reflected on all of this and realized they were wrong.
She elaborated further on Instagram,
“Over the past several months, I have opened my ears, mind and heart and it has opened my eyes to see how wrong I was and for that I am sorry.
This systematic racism is not going away unless we ALL work on it by working on ourselves and those around us. It’s time for everyone to do their part to help end this system.
Matthew and I thought this was a good place to start. We are proud to be a part of this program and we will keep fighting to end this social injustice. Black Lives Matter.”
Bravo to Kelly Stafford for listening to folks and challenging her own beliefs. More of that, and our country would be in a lot better place.
— kyle meinke (@kmeinke) August 15, 2020
- It is not often in modern society that someone humbly and publicly admits he or she is wrong about words, thoughts, or actions.
The Staffords’ apology is refreshing in that respect.
- They are going beyond words.
Kelly and Matt Stafford are donating $350,000 to their alma mater, the University of Georgia, to a fund a social justice program.
Matt’s former UGA head coach, Kirby Smart and his wife Mary Beth, are also donating $150,000 to this fund.
- Details of how the funds will be disbursed and the specifics of the program are yet to be determined; however, it is expected to be geared toward student athletes.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford and wife Kelly, along with Georgia HC Kirby Smart and his wife Mary Beth, have endowed $500k to a social justice program supporting UGA student athletes. Both the Staffords and the Smarts were student athletes at Georgia. pic.twitter.com/8xTAvr2nnQ
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 14, 2020
Tough Times for the Staffords
It has been a rough couple of years for the Staffords.
1. Kelly’s Brain Tumor
After suffering from dizzy spells and nearly dropping their son Hunter, Kelly finally had surgery in early 2019 to remove a noncancerous brain tumor.
An initial diagnosis and medication for vertigo had proven unsuccessful which caused the Staffords to seek additional medical opinions.
Kelly shared her fears about the diagnosis and brain surgery.
“At first, we didn’t have any idea of where this was going to go, and we just needed to figure out how to deal with it. But as the day went on, my fears started to show themselves. What if this thing gets taken out and something goes wrong? What if something happens before that? “
2. Matt’s False Positive COVID-19 Test
Earlier this month, Matthew Stafford tested positive for COVID-19 after previously testing negative two consecutive times prior.
It was a puzzling event that led to the Lions placing Stafford on the COVID/Reserve List.
Later, through additional tests on Matthew and his family, it was revealed that the test result was a false positive.
Kelly criticized the NFL for publicizing the news before fact-finding the validity of the false-positive:
“Even after we knew it was false positive, our school told us they were not allowed back, I was approached in a grocery store and told I was ‘endangering others,’ my kids were harassed and kicked off a playground, I was told I needed to wait in my car when trying to pick up food, and people closest to us had to get tested just so they could go back to work.”
Regardless of what circumstances got the Staffords to their decision to apologize and act, others can and will benefit from their change of heart.