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San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly spoke with the media today and some of the questions surrounded backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick's appearance on the cover of TIME Magazine. Kelly had just heard about his quarterback's cover appearance from 49ers Vice President Of Communications Bob Lange while heading into the press conference.
Kelly was asked by Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area about his feelings on how the topic of the protest has taken off nationally. "You look at what's gone on in Tulsa and Charlotte the last two nights, it's an issue that's at the forefront of our country," Kelly said. "It needs to be addressed. It needs to be taken care of because what's going on is not right. So, I think again, he's shedding light on a situation that is heinous. It shouldn't happen in this country. We all have inalienable rights as a citizen of this country and they're being violated and that's what I think Colin is standing up for."
Maiocco went on to ask how Kaepernick has done budgeting his time between this cause and football. Kelly answered that it might be a better question directed at Kaepernick. "When he's here, he's doing football," Kelly said. "You know, when we're here from 8:15 when we get here in the morning until 5 when we leave, he's at every meeting, he's done everything. There hasn't been anything, 'Hey coach, I need time because I've got this going on.' You know, he hasn't done that. He understands what his job is and he's balanced it really well. I think he's managed it really well so he's focused. He's dialed in when we're at practice. He's dialed in when we're in meetings."
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Then there was an interesting back and forth between Kelly and another member of the media who stated that Kaepernick takes over the locker room while discussing the protest. That member of the media stated that some of the players were uncomfortable with that and he wanted to know how Kelly felt about it. "I don't think Colin takes over any room," Kelly said. The reporter disagreed.
"Well, I can give you my opinion of what I think," Kelly continued. "I think he's asked questions about a subject and he's answering those questions."
The reporter, pushing the issue, asked if Kelly was in the locker room following the 49ers' season opening win against the Los Angeles Rams. "Yeah. I walk by the locker room. I'm in the locker room," Kelly answered. The reporter then stated that the two disagree that he took over the room and asked if Kelly felt it was appropriate for Kaepernick to be discussing the issue after a win. "Yeah, I do," Kelly answered. "When he's asked a question, I think he should answer what his feelings are on those questions. If you don't believe that's the thing, then maybe you shouldn't ask him those questions."
The reporter then stated, "We have a fundamental disagreement then." Kelly replied by saying, "That's the great thing about this country, isn't it?"