Here is a link to my column about Colin Kaepernick’s obligations to his teammates. The full text appears below.

Sunday’s New York Times ran an article about Colin Kaepernick’s crummy manners.

It compared lock-jawed Kaepernick to charming and engaging Russell Wilson and said, in the manners category, there is no comparison.

The Times is the newspaper of record in the United States and the world and, as you know, used to own The Press Democrat. And now the newspaper of record went on the record with a description like this: “Kaepernick behaves like a schoolboy banished to the principal’s office. His microphone is where well-intentioned questions go to die.”

The word “schoolboy” is appropriate. Kaepernick acts like a schoolboy around the media, looking down at his sneakers, looking away from reporters, answering in monosyllables, always seeming under interrogation — like some cagey journalist is sticking knife blades under his fingertips to find out where he stashes his playbook or what he feeds his turtle.

He is mostly humorless, defensive and intentionally uninteresting. The last guy on Earth you’d invite for dinner. If he is a media schoolboy, some of his teammates hold doctorates. I am talking about savvy media guys, gracious adults like Vernon Davis, Joe Staley, Anquan Boldin, Donte Whitner, Frank Gore, Jona-than Goodwin and Carlos Rogers (sometimes). The grownups.

In the lamentable category are Michael Crabtree, who is more shy than rude and actually tries to answer questions, and Alex Boone who has gone out of his way to be dismissive, curt and rude to journalists covering the team.

After the 49ers past two games, Kaepernick came to the media room accompanied by teammates — with Boldin and Crabtree after the Rams game, with Boldin after the Seahawks game.

He reminds you of a kindergartner who needs a buddy, a pal, an ally to hold his hand.

Timeout for another quote from the Times: “Kaepernick talks as if restricted by a Twitter-like character count.”

So, what’s wrong with Kaepernick being a social stiff? The Niners are 9-4, they’re almost surely going to the playoffs and, although Kaepernick is not a great quarterback, he certainly is a winner. How he interacts with the media means zilch.

Here are three answers. The first two answers are unimportant, mere preludes to No. 3, the big one.

FIRST ANSWER: Kaepernick is the leader of his team, at least of the offense.

It’s his job to lead on and off the field, and off the field he’s a miserable failure, a juvenile, a terrible representative of the organization.

SECOND ANSWER: Kaepernick is terminally rude, and it’s never smart — or nice — to be rude, especially for no reason, especially to journalists dying to know you and give you every benefit of the doubt.

THIRD ANSWER, THE BIG ONE: By not fulfilling his media duties, by not even trying, Kaepernick is being rude to his teammates, showing them no respect, being an inconsiderate brat to them.

Say what?

On every team, quarterbacks talk to the media more than any other players. This talking is part of the job, an essential responsibility of the quarterback. Some quarterbacks who understand this heavy responsibility and fulfill it are Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Alex Smith and Tom Brady. In their day, guys who did it were Steve Young, Rich Gannon and Kerry Collins.

Yes, Kerry Collins. I remember him after games during the Raiders’ atrocious 2005 season answering tough questions patiently and politely in the hushed, subdued locker room, taking the burden off his crushed teammates.

And here’s the point. Journalists ask questions. Journalists need answers. When Kaepernick is uncooperative, journalists don’t tell themselves, “Gee, Colin acted like a jerk again. I guess I won’t get an answer.”

That is not how it works. Journalists go to the next guy — say, Staley or Whitner. And they ask their questions.

By not performing his role — by not doing his duty — Kaepernick is dumping that duty on his teammates and friends. By failing in his obligation to the press, he is failing in his obligation to the team. It’s a serious obligation that won’t go away and it means others must perform it for him precisely because he is derelict in his duty.

What I’m saying — I want to be clear about this — is that Kaepernick childishly shifts the burden from himself to Davis and Goodwin and others, takes advantage of their professionalism and goodwill, and adds to their burden — a burden they would not shoulder on teams with grown-up quarterbacks. Kaepernick leaches off them.

He may not mean to be selfish toward his teammates, but he is being selfish — by his neglect of standard protocol and his callous disregard for his teammates’ time and feelings.

He needs to think about this. Or someone in the 49ers organization, like the coach, needs to set him straight.

Time to man up, Colin.

For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at lowell.cohn@pressdemocrat.com.

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  1. K.T. Hastings

    Kaepernick doesn’t come off as rude to me. He comes off as unpolished. He comes off like, surprise, a young quarterback.

    Somehow I suspect that his teammates will see him as a leader if he shows courage, conviction, and a sense of knowing where the team needs to be on the field. Less important will be if he sounds like an insurance salesman in the interview room.

    Much is made comparing Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, and rightly so. They may turn out to be the Manning/Brady of the next dozen years. I suspect that they will each win their share of head to head matchups, as well as at least one Super Bowl each. I’m sure that Wilson, and his well-modulated tones, will always come off better to reporters and columnists that are my age, and yours Mr. Cohn. But it sounds like that is less important to me than it is to you.

    December 9th, 2013 11:10 pm

  2. Ryan

    Maybe when Kap’s teammates start complaining about him, then maybe we need to worry. He doesn’t like his media obligations.

    Maybe he would give short, curt-like answers, if the media didn’t ask suck stupid questions like “Colin, what was it like to have Crabtree back?”, “Was this win important to the team’s success?” and “What do you guys need to do to win next week?”

    December 9th, 2013 11:36 pm

  3. Zohn Cohn

    The irony, Cohn, is that he’s doing it FOR his teammates. Let me explain. He you look at his leadership style on the field, he does it more like a skill position player, linebacker, etc. Another position. He defers glory in his leadership on the field, because he doesn’t want to come across as some self-entitled jerk.

    His media presence in part is an extension of that. He’s trying to be like a linemen. He’s trying to show that he isn’t some prima dona. He’s trying to show that he’s one of the men, not someone who thinks he’s THE man.

    Granted, he is probably mistaken in his views on how his teammates view him. Maybe. It’s hard to tell outside of the locker room. But his intentions are good.

    When he dismisses the media, what he’s really doing is sending a message to his teammates that only the TEAM matters, and all the other stuff is just fluff. I know you want the interesting tidbits, but he’s doing what he thinks is best for the team.

    *I do find it funny that you basically had the same position of Harbaugh so many times. “Peeling the onion” and what not. Is it a coincidence that Colin is annoying you as much as Harbaugh does? (or did, I guess; Harbs seems to be much more forthcoming these days)

    I do not think it’s a coincidence. In any case, your judgments on his intentions are inaccurate, I believe.

    December 9th, 2013 11:52 pm

  4. Peter

    I have to be honest… Your article seems like a childish tantrum in itself. Colin’s answers and lack of interaction during post game interviews makes your job harder… Which is unfortunate for you… But you don’t have to cry about it. You should man up as well.

    December 9th, 2013 11:53 pm

  5. mendozaline

    It is ironic, Lowell, that you referenced Kerry Collins as a model QB. By the time Collins got to Oakland in 2004, he had been arrested for drunk driving, called one of his teammates the n-word, supposedly slurred an Hispanic teammate, and spent at least 4 years in therapy for alcoholism after spending time in an alcoholism rehabilitation clinic.

    Last week you said to one of posters on this blog,
    “…You are performing contortions to justify your position.”
    We all do that from time to time.

    December 9th, 2013 11:54 pm

  6. Stythe

    I think he just answers questions the way he was taught by harbaugh. Jim doesn’t answer any question with more than a couple words. Doesn’t want to give any information away.

    December 9th, 2013 11:55 pm

  7. Rodge

    This is kinda funny. You might be lookin into this a little far Cohn. Wasn’t Kap asked this just the other day? I believe he said “I signed a contract to play football.”

    Sounds like you are a local reporter. You want more info from Kap. Kap has remained firm in his attitude towards press, which is he literally doesn’t care. Maybe you are being pressured to get Kap to open up more? Maybe this article is taking a stab at trying? I don’t know, it’s super irrelevant to most of us. I guess the older generation wants “the QB to deliver his speech after the game. In a button down shirt answering all the questions thoroughly.” Kap’s not that guy. His teammates seem to love him, coach is behind him, media plays no role. Winning games will do the talking and he has a lot to do in that regard.

    December 10th, 2013 12:59 am

  8. Rodge

    Oh wow, just read your other article. Sorry Lowell, this is just a “you” thing. You want Kap to be so,etching he’s not and your writing shows you are kinda upset about that. You point to the same thing about Kap growing up in the last few articles. He’s young. You’re old. He will eventually grow up, but as you well know, that takes years. Let him be, relax. Your writing isn’t gonna change anything, as outlined by his new beats by Dre headphone commercial. He’ll “hear what he wants,” and it’s doubtful he wants to hear some old dude telling him to “pull his pants up and keep his elbows off the table.” His grampa does that every thanksgiving at the house

    December 10th, 2013 1:06 am

  9. Amir

    Never thought of it this way. Makes sense.

    December 10th, 2013 1:42 am

  10. Tommy CostaRica

    It’s come to the point where he needs some professional training on how to interview. He comes off as a total punk :/

    December 10th, 2013 6:02 am

  11. AlanLeroy

    Your only point is that Kaepernick’s perceived dissing of the press hurts the team? You just don’t get it. Harbaugh disses the press whenever he can too. I’ll bet he’s coaching Kaepernick to be rude to you guys because they think you’re looking for any opportunity to slam them and this team. And that’s what the fans perceive of you.

    Articles like this just prove the point. This outlandish attempt to create a controversy where there is none just shows how wrong you are. Your attack journalism takes needlessly places irrelevant focus on Colin. That’s ok. He’s a great leader and obviously this kind of thing doesn’t phase him. He’s actually protecting his teammates by being rude to you. Good for him.

    Poll the Fans. Poll the teammates. I think you’ll find nobody cares…but the press. Thin skinned much?

    December 10th, 2013 6:02 am

  12. Streetglide

    No way they turn out to be the “Manning/Brady of the coming years…”

    Colin won’t even be a starter in three years. He doesn’t have it. And Lowell, two can play the same game. Next presser, the corp should just sit there and not ask one single question. Just sit there. Do that a few times and you can bet the Niner PR section will get the message and have a talk with Wimpernick…

    December 10th, 2013 6:23 am

  13. Tommy CostaRica

    Lowell at first I thought you were over reacting to Kap; kind of the way it took you awhile to warm up to Harbaugh. But now you’re opinion of Kap has been validated by the New York Times! Great read here:

    December 10th, 2013 7:02 am

  14. Dennis


    You are committing one of the great sins of journalism – you are becoming boring. If you can’t write about how bad the 49ers are, how bad of a GM Baalke is, how mean Harbaugh is, you now find the need to write about how terrible Kaepernick is at PR. You do this over and over and over and over. I have heard this song from you many times. It is getting real old. Better you should start covering the Raiders. At least with the Raiders you seem to commit real journalism. All you do with the 49ers is whine.

    December 10th, 2013 7:13 am

  15. JB

    Here we have a perfect case in point of how the media creates distrust between itself and the players it covers. Because Kaep did not give the media the quote it wanted, it chose to make itself part of story by telling the masses how rude Kaep is to it’s members.

    Newsflash: The majority of fans don’t care. What they care about is how he plays on Sunday. That YOUR feelings are hurt or that YOU didn’t get the story YOU wanted are of little relevance because YOU are not the story. I’ll also point out that when Kaep has been open with the media it usually comes back to bite him in the form of a twisted quote or someone like Rick Reilly writing a story about how Kaep must, needs to, rekindle his relationship with his estranged birth mother. Not only does this create distrust, but it invades a part of someone’s life that is intensely personal.

    When I watch how the media interacts with players and the fallout from those interactions, I understand how and why some players are guarded.

    December 10th, 2013 7:22 am

  16. Zak

    Not sure you’re in a position to question his leadership. All reviews from his teammates are positive. They say he’s the hardest worker amd he’s stepped up since he took over. Just because he doesn’t answer your incriminating questions doesn’t mean he can’t lead his team. Quit whining.

    December 10th, 2013 7:31 am

  17. Michael

    Right on Lowell. And we know he knows how to behave. He was very gracious with Pam Oliver after the game. He smiles and laughs a lot during a game.

    December 10th, 2013 7:40 am

  18. Streetglide

    Let’s try it with the link and Lowell you can delete the other one:

    Here’s an article on the Bear’s backup QB. Check his quotes farther down the article — mature, self deprecating, humorous and just plain civil.

    That’s how you play the game, and yes Colin, you are in fact being paid for that as well…


    December 10th, 2013 7:52 am

  19. A Mac

    You couldn’t be more wrong. Don’t you realize that each and everyone of these players is told to say a little as possible. Haven’t you noticed he answers all questions in a very similar manner? Consider who his coach is.. Harbaugh says as little as possible to the media because he doesn’t want to give any other team an edge. You folks in the media would love if he was animated like Ray Lewis, or Richard Sherman for that matter. It gives you press! $$$$ No, Kaepernick is a disciple of Harbaugh. These guys are taught at this age to say little to nothing. Harbaugh is following in the footsteps of Belichick as it relates to the media. Why should you say anything more to the media then you have to? Why? You guys are the reason for this. It’s an obligation but not one where you should have diarrhea of the mouth. Not to mention, your articles are less then impressive. Why not start writing about football instead of picking these guys apart personally? Notice how everybody on the 49ers has Kaepernick’s back? Yeah, that’s because he works his tail off each and every day. We all know that… because YOU guys write about it. Find somebody else to pick on. Did Kaepernick say something to you that you didn’t like? You’ve been on him since Day 1. Get over it.

    December 10th, 2013 8:02 am

  20. Down-with-the-Cohn's

    “especially to journalists dying to know you and give you every benefit of the doubt.”

    LOL, say what now?

    December 10th, 2013 8:41 am

  21. Alex

    Finally, there is a fourth option.

    He doesn’t want to be the center of attention because he’s a selfless individual.

    Clearly he could do a better job with the media. Hopefully he figures out how to be engaging while preserving the team-first attitude.

    December 10th, 2013 8:55 am

  22. Mark M

    My gut feeling when I watch him is that he’s ill prepared for dealing with the media, so he minimizes his answers to an extreme. It’s not essential for his job, but I do think he’d be smart to open up as his comfort level grows. I hope this happens soon.

    The one thing I worry about with him is that he may be taking media (including social media) personally to the point of resentment. That’s a serious sign of immaturity and could effect his play. Sheeesh, it’d affect everything, but I’m mostly concerned about his play. It’s only going to get worse if he doesn’t reach out a bit more. Let’s see if he starts to grow up a bit here this season.

    December 10th, 2013 9:17 am

  23. Tom T Thompson III, PhD

    I don’t buy it. He’s not dumping his duty on anyone. His duty is to play football. The fact is, most of those guys probably welcome the attention and love to have reporters hanging on their every word. Those who don’t can simply pull a John Taylor. It doesn’t bother me, as a fan, when a player doesn’t talk to the press. If he does talk, sure, I’ll read it, but if he doesn’t, no big deal.

    December 10th, 2013 9:18 am

  24. CohnZohn

    Peter, I didn’t say he made my job harder. My job is easy. He makes his teammates’ jobs harder. You read my article with full comprehension, right?

    December 10th, 2013 9:35 am

  25. CohnZohn

    Rodge, If my column is irrelevant why did you read it and comment on it?

    December 10th, 2013 9:36 am

  26. CohnZohn

    A Mac, Many of the 49ers speak at length. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

    December 10th, 2013 9:47 am

  27. Brady

    Really interesting take. I usually find your posts about Kap’s manners to be unnecessary, but this was really interesting. Thanks for that perspective.

    My only beef is with calling him a failure off the field when it comes to representing the team. “failure at the podium” might be a better term. Until Kap is getting arrested and hurling slurs at people, he’s not a failure off the field when it comes to representing the Niners. He has been nothing but a model citizen.

    Also, do you have any Alex Boone stories? Your comment that he is rude took me by surprise, as I feel I’ve read people who have nothing but good things to say about him.

    December 10th, 2013 9:49 am

  28. mbabco

    Loved the last sentence of the NY Times article: “This year, Wilson and Kaepernick starred together in good-natured commercials for EA Sports. But they also demonstrated their conflicting visions of self-image when Kaepernick posed nearly nude for ESPN The Magazine’s annual “Body Issue,” and Wilson posed for a GQ fashion spread on cable-knit sweaters.”

    December 10th, 2013 9:53 am

  29. Stan

    I thought that the NY Times article showed it aint just Lowell. But that’s how many of you went huh? You all must be cubs and kittens because the bay area has never had a star player or coach that wasn’t confident to laugh and handle the media. Its part of what makes a star.

    Frankly, none were dumb enough to think that they could mumble year after year,and do the Buzzard stare down at the media. And then wonder why they didn’t get glowing reveiws.

    Bring in The Snake to teach the Buzzard how to engratiate.

    December 10th, 2013 10:05 am

  30. Streetglide

    “The Buzzard…” Yeah, I like that. Fits perfectly…

    December 10th, 2013 10:19 am

  31. Bob

    Pretty funny all the 49er fans coming to the defense of this complete douchebag childish brat, Colin Kaepernick. A little boy, that doesn’t know how to be a leader or take responsibility. A clown.

    December 10th, 2013 10:36 am

  32. Ronald

    Reading this article, and then your replies to comments, makes me think you’re a lot more immature than Kaepernick is. Stop throwing a temper tantrum over Kap not allowing you to twist his words. Get off your high horse and rid yourself of this self entitlement you’ve allowed yourself to obtain.

    December 10th, 2013 10:43 am

  33. A Mac

    … so other 49er players are the template for how you should interview. They never discuss strategy and if they do they are very modest. Kaep is smart, he’s saying as little as possible. You have something against Kaep because he doesn’t answer the questions the way YOU (media) want him to. I got it now.

    Don’t deny Harbaugh says as little to the press as possible. Why would he? Think about all the one-liners he’s come up with. You need every competitive edge you can get in this game. It’s tough! Come on Cohn… how about you talk about Kaep’s leadership on the field, his work ethic, confidence, demeanor? He never pins the blame on someone else. This is a TEAM game and Kaep knows that. The media expects more and more but we all know it will blow up in the players face. That’s what the media does.

    I won’t disagree that Kaep pays attention to much more social media then he should. We all know that but he’s getting better, smarter, wiser…. each day. Give him some credit!

    Keep doing what you do Kaep! Keep that media guessing.

    December 10th, 2013 10:44 am

  34. Oscar

    As already pointed out, funny how this article makes the author, instead of Kap, look like a child throwing a tantrum.

    Colin – 1
    Cohn – 0

    December 10th, 2013 10:53 am

  35. CohnZohn

    Ronald, Do you feel the same way about the NY Times. Because I quoted from their article critical of Kaepernick. You seem to be the one on a high horse.

    December 10th, 2013 10:59 am

  36. Ronald

    The author of that article is the type of person as you, a press member who feel players owe him something more, which they don’t. He answers your questions, be happy for that. Just because he doesn’t answer them in long winded sentences or he doesn’t stir up controversy doesn’t mean he’s immature.

    December 10th, 2013 11:06 am

  37. Jimmy

    Teams, especially quarterbacks, are a reflection of their head coach. Colin is like a child trying to imitate his father.

    December 10th, 2013 11:10 am

  38. Jeff Krisko

    His job is to play football, not make sure journalists feel important.

    December 10th, 2013 11:26 am

  39. Jason

    If Alex Smith behaved this way at press conferences would we all not rip him to shreds, after we tarred and featherd him. His on field performance would not excuse him from such obnoxious behavior towards the public. Yet, Kap’s performance this year is no better than Smith’s last couple of years, but the fans are quick to excuse Kap’s boorish to behavior.

    December 10th, 2013 11:34 am

  40. Aaron

    If only Kaep could be as open and inviting as noted media darling Bill Belichick

    December 10th, 2013 11:37 am

  41. Butch Dye

    You are the one dear sir who is acting like a child. And besides who has any respect for the media – who can not
    come up with any intelligent questions. These days your sources have to write the story for you because
    you all lack imagination. Just look at the screwing up the media is doing covering world events. You never report the real stories- in fact you are told what to say by your bosses.
    Go whine somewhere else. Kap is not responsible for wrting your dumb story. You are.

    December 10th, 2013 11:41 am

  42. mendozaline

    Here is Bill Walsh on how to deal with the media. (This is advice to a head coach from his book Finding the Winning Edge.)

    I thought that this quote would be interesting in the context of this topic.

    “Of all the factors with which a head coach must be concerned, perhaps none is more demanding and obtrusive than having to deal with the media. Many of the
    difficulties attendant to dealing with the media can be attributed to the multidimensional nature of the media.
    Although “the media” is a term which is frequently used in a singular sense, as if it were really a person or a particular medium, that’s not the case. Rather, “the media”
    is a descriptive designation which collectively represents a wide variety of medium venues and personalities.
    The term “media,” for example, includes two broad groups of medium types which are categorized according to how the information is disseminated—print media
    (e.g., newspapers, magazines, etc.) versus electronic based
    media ( e.g., radio, television, the internet, etc.). The media can be further classified into various
    geographical levels according to what audience a particular medium is attempting to serve (e.g., local, national, or international). Such a classification can become a
    problem when, at any given time, the head coach finds himself interacting with one specific media type from three different areas—for example, newspaper reporters.
    The kinds of individuals who work in the different types and levels of media also vary. Over time, the head coach will be exposed to a diverse array of personnel,
    ranging from thoughtful, serious professional journalists to individuals who prefer to subordinate content and ethics for tabloid sized
    sound bites designed to entertain
    or inflame their audiences regardless of the consequences.

    Conflicting Priorities

    Without question, one of the most difficult aspects of dealing with the media is the fact that each of the various types of media tends to have its own distinct set of
    needs and priorities. In turn, the needs and priorities of one type of medium not only may be different from those of the head coach, but also may conflict with those of
    other types of media.
    The local beat writer, for example, has a decidedly different job and perspective than does the local columnist. As an individual with whom you interact on a continual
    basis, the local beat writer must rely on a certain familiarity with you and your players in order to do his job.
    A columnist, on the other hand, may write something about you periodically without having ever talked with you once the entire season. In reality, some columnists can
    be the most frustrating to deal with because they feel that their position gives them a certain level of autonomy. Accordingly, under the guise of “personal opinion,” they use whatever leeway is necessary to “mold” their information to fit the point they want to make. Simply stated, they may not bother to let the
    facts get in the way of what they perceive as a good story.
    It is interesting to note that often these two specific groups of writers, even though they may write for the same paper, don’t always see the same event through the
    same viewpoint. One experienced beat writer once told me:
    The columnists write checks we beat writers can’t cash. They may write a story based on speculation or their opinion. My editor then gets on me about it because I don’t have anything on this particular story. Although the columnist’s “speculation or opinion” is wrong, I’m caught chasing down a story that doesn’t exist—one I didn’t even initiate in the first place. Concurrently, the columnist simply moves on to his next speculative venture.
    Complicating the potential for confusion and conflict even further is the fact that both of these local types of writers may have distinctly different priorities and
    viewpoints than their national counterpart.
    The radio and television media has yet another set of perspectives compared to those of the “pencil press.” For example, the nature of the electronic media requires a
    very different type of response from the head coach who is asked to answer a particular question. A response that would otherwise be comprehensive and well
    thought out if it were for the written media will not be appropriate for the 30 second
    sound bite environment in which television and radio operate.

    In reality, any listing of the possible areas of conflict in priorities between (and within) the various types of the media would be virtually endless. The point you must
    constantly keep in mind when dealing with the media is that these conflicts exist and that your media related
    actions should be conducted accordingly.”

    December 10th, 2013 11:43 am

  43. Steve the cat rescuer


    I’m so glad you wrote this article and am certainly not surprised at the outpouring of venom against you by the so-called “faithful”. I have long felt and commented on this blog that Kaepernick is an awful representative of the 49er legacy. I know I’m not alone in saying that, although I want the 49ers to do well, I tend to root against Kaepernick. Strange but true.

    I couldn’t help but notice the difference between Wilson and Kaepernick in the post game interview sessions. Wilson, the losing QB, appeared in a well tailored suit and tie and answered every question respectfully, thoughtfully and politely, even though I’m sure he was hurting both physically and emotionally. On the other hand, Kaepernick had his mandatory headphones – an obvious ode to his endorsement deal – and answered the questions (when he did answer) exactly as you described.

    Maybe it was just coincidence, but during the game every shot of Wilson on the sidelines showed him sitting next to a coach reviewing game photos or the play book; every shot of Kaepernick showed him yucking it up with his teammates or wandering aimlessly around the sidelines doing anything but reviewing game strategy.

    Some commenters have used the word “leader” to defend Kaepernick. I see no such quality in him. To become an elite quarterback requires much more than physical ability; if that were all it took Jamarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf would be Hall of Famers. While I don’t think Kaepernick will ever sink to the depths of those two, I believe he will never achieve his perceived potential until and unless he has a complete attitude adjustment, and by then it may be too late. Compare the second year progress of Kaepernick to his contemporaries: Luck, Wilson, Tannehill and RG III. Last year, based on their physical skills, almost everyone placed Kaepernick and RG III above the others, yet they are the only ones who have regressed this year. Now compare attitudes. See a pattern?

    December 10th, 2013 11:46 am

  44. Brady

    Lowell, I don’t think it’s fair to compare what you are saying to what the NY Times is saying. The NY Times is not being critical as much as they are being objective in assessing Kap’s media presence, while also defending him be saying A) it probably doesn’t matter, and B) it takes some practice and he’s still learning.

    It’s an interesting topic, but your criticism is not the same as the Times’ reporting. You are saying vastly different things.

    December 10th, 2013 12:13 pm

  45. Kathy

    Lowell, I agree that Kaep’s interactions with the media are a liability to the team and the 49er brand, and unlike many of those posting here, I do see the media as representing me, the fan. So when Kaep’s rude to the media, or acting passive agressive in his responses, he’s being rude to the fans. He represents the 49er organization so he owes the fans more respect. We like his play, his athletic gifts and we want to hear a little more about what he thinks and his perspective on the game just played. To me that’s the No. 1 reason, not the three you listed.

    And someone should tell him that if he wants fans to buy the products he’s endorsing then he’d better come across as more likeable.

    That said, you have little moral high ground here, IMO, because you can write quite rudely in your blog and your column, the latest when you kept referring to Sandoval as Fatso. That was as rude and childish as the way I see Kaep behaving. So you have to walk the talk as they say, or don’t complain about rudeness and lack of professionalism.

    One thing I’ve noticed about both Kaep and Harbaugh is each is much more personable when speaking 1:1 with a reporter. Maybe there’s some defensive mechanism that kicks in when they’re faced with a bank of lights, recorders, mikes, etc.

    December 10th, 2013 12:13 pm

  46. Ben

    It’s amazing (if not surprising) how much vitriol you’ve stirred up with this, Lowell. I for one agree with you. Life is too short to be a dick. I’d love to hear Steve Young weigh in on the whole thing… talk about an ambassador that a team and a city can rally around.

    December 10th, 2013 12:40 pm

  47. JB

    Apparently reading comprehension is not your stong suit (or you’re intellectually dishonest). While contrasting their styles, the “newspaper of record” ultimately concludes that it doesn’t matter:

    “In the end, though, does any of it matter? Beyond the groaning of reporters and some 49ers fans who pine for a deeper connection to their next vision of Joe Montana or Steve Young, Kaepernick’s aloofness appears to cause little consequential damage.”

    Aside from a blatent attempt to prove the article wrong by causing consequential damage to the player, I’m not sure what you’re trying to accomplish. But, feel free to keep up your crusade against the Harbaugh’s and Kaepernick’s of the world and we’ll continue to recognize it for the petty nonsense that it is.

    December 10th, 2013 1:13 pm

  48. CohnZohn

    The NY Times may have concluded Kap’s behavior does not matter. I disagree. I think it does. But the NYT described his behavior in negative terms and I quoted those terms.

    December 10th, 2013 1:41 pm

  49. Streetglide

    Bottom line is if you act like a dick, then you are one. You can be silent on most matters, defer to your coach on others and be opaque in your answers without being unpleasant.

    December 10th, 2013 1:49 pm

  50. JB

    Ah, intellectual dishonesty it is…

    Just so I understand the point of view from which you craft your articles…you can cherry pick quotes and cite them as being from an authoratative source to the extent that it serves your purpose. Once that purpose is served, anything else the authoritative source might have to say on the subject is to be marginalized or outright disregarded.
    In fact, the source necessarily ceases to be an authority once their facts and research diverge from the narrative you’re trying to spin. Got it!

    December 10th, 2013 1:55 pm

  51. Mighty joe

    Lowell, this article is perfectly representative of your coverage of the team. To wit: you wrote yourself into the story. Many of us (fans) read you because we read expansively about the team, so don’t take the fact that we are here, commenting as some sign of validation. Without actually going through your history and counting, it strikes me that a fair number of your stories are a reflection of your frustration with Harbaugh and his team’s reticence towards journalists. Amusingly even your “mea culpa” article from earlier this week was framed through your perspective, as you slipped in the locker room.

    Which leads me to my point: you are not the story. Your difficulty in prying a narrative from the players and coaches isn’t either.

    December 10th, 2013 2:06 pm

  52. Selective Crane

    Mr. Cohn will always be a major part of the glorious history of the 49ers, mainly because he has always been the only voice of reason among a cacophony of sycophantic media throng. Mr. Cohn is the only one whose voice can be trusted. His honesty is beyond reproach. His integrity is serene.

    December 10th, 2013 3:20 pm

  53. Brett

    Your a world shaker Lowell! You got everybody and their brother to jump in on this one.

    Personally I don’t care if he is a bor for you guys. Rude yes. However I am not sure Rude is the right word for his behavior. His personality just makes for more discussion for us.
    Interesting point about putting more on his team mates plates…almost had me going there for a minute. I don’t think they mind picking up the slack for him.
    Realy….who cares….just win Baby.

    December 10th, 2013 3:44 pm

  54. Wilson

    Not a fan of Lowell, but he’s right on this one. Kap comes across as a jerk and a punk. I think it’s mostly that he’s uncomfortable in front of the media and doesn’t know how to be charming, but he makes a terrible impression. The brain trust at 49ers headquarters needs to advise him and during the offseason get him some training. Part of his job is to allow the fans to like him so that we root harder for him and for the team in general. It’s extremely counterproductive for him to act so hostile. He may think he’s just being rude to the reporters – and most fans wouldn’t mind him doing that, especially with regard to Lowell – but he’s also being rude to the fanbase.

    Most of us want to be liked. I assume Kap wants to be liked and appreciated. He’s screwing up on that front.

    December 10th, 2013 5:45 pm

  55. russell

    You already know what I am going to say Lowell….ah how one must love the “faithful”. Now, how dare you not recognize the “selfless” (as described by many for some reason here on the blog), bicep kissing, nude posing, opposing team hat-wearing, new face of leadership! You old fuddy-duddy you! You actually expect the head coach and the quarterback to both be professional and not treat people like idiots at every turn??? You don’t worship the “us vs. them” mentality of SF?? Shame on you.

    December 10th, 2013 6:02 pm

  56. Dee

    I have read alot of articles during my time and this has got to be one of the worst, most judgemental articles I have come across.

    Sigh… this article reminds me of an exgirlfriend who is offended that her exboyfriend does not speak to her and so she speaks out for support. An entire article about Kaepernick’s personality with the media???? You can’t be serious. There’s got to be more important things to get concerned with regarding Kap. i.e. Playing better on the field, helping his teammates win a superbowl, improving his accuracy on throws, staying out of trouble to hurt his credibility and his teammates (now that would be selfish).. but to say he’s selfish because THE REPORTERS have to go seek answers with other teammates??? Man please. Have you ever researched what he does behind the scenes? charity for kids with heartfailure, just did a foundation at McDonalds supporting and working with kids, loved by his teammates, family and friends (PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY KNOW HIM)… sound like to me he’s a good guy who does not have proper training in how to deal with media or maybe he just doesn’t feel comfortable yet. Not everyone is polished in all things. But to write a complete article regarding this guy’s personality is imo, not that deep and childish. Who made you the king of how a person should act in the media room? Let the kid improve on the field and leave his personality to grow.

    December 10th, 2013 8:39 pm

  57. Rodge


    This is what harbough has to say to your exact point.

    Colin, his coach, and his teammates don’t share your point of view. Looks like you’ll have to ask some better questions to get what you’re looking for. He doesn’t seem to care. Neither do fans of team.

    December 10th, 2013 9:25 pm

  58. B-Rad


    Lowell’s right – Kaep, don’t bite the hand that feeds you………..14

    Lowell’s wrong and mad – he tripped over Kaep’s gym bag…….21

    Who cares?………………………………………………………………………3

    (No Zohner counted more than once)

    December 10th, 2013 9:54 pm

  59. k.g.

    Its more than apparent that Kaep does not deal with the criticism very well that he has been receiving…hence the Bad Attitude towards the Media.

    But regardless, of the criticism, Kaep is the starting QB, and talking to the Media is a part of the Job. When Kaepernick is long gone from the 49er Franchise, there will be another QB to take his place, and speaking to the Media will also be a part of his job description too.

    December 10th, 2013 9:59 pm

  60. CohnZohn

    B-Rad, I didn’t trip over Kap’s gym bag. I think it was Whitner’s.

    December 10th, 2013 10:03 pm

  61. Bill

    Cohn Zohn, Kap does what he does because he doesn’t want to seem like a snarky lime-light eater to his teammates, and he wants to reinforce the “us against the world” mentality. It’s about showing that he’s one of the men, not some special Prince that they have to graciously follow.

    You might disagree with it, and you might even be right about the end results, but you are mistaken about his intentions. It isn’t about hating the media, or any other selfish reason. It’s for the team. Whether or not he is misguided, that’s why he does it.

    December 10th, 2013 10:22 pm

  62. Reality

    There are plenty of qb’s who are still quiet. I love how you bring up the upper echelon quarterbacks and the ex-qb. Obviously Kap shouldn’t have to be a man and show “class” to you because you disrespect his coach and write for shock value. Give the guy a break.

    December 10th, 2013 10:53 pm

  63. Lou

    JB: Exactly!!!

    December 11th, 2013 4:09 am

  64. Peter

    Lowell: I’ve participated in this blog for a few years. I comment on your sandals once in a while. A couple years ago I once disagreed with you about athletes’ obligation to the media. You called me out and set me straight back then. I am not the Peter who commented on 12/9 11:53 pm. From now on I am no longer Peter, but will go by Elknarps.

    December 11th, 2013 11:58 am

  65. hacksaw

    I guess what this fan concludes is that this is probably who Kap is and it probably won’t change all that much. I’m ok with him not being that loquacious. He’s an athlete not a politician or lawyer. He probably will not have a media career after his playing days are over. I suppose I am just willing to accept him the way he is. I’d like to see him develop as an athlete, but if he doesn’t improve that much with the media, I don’t see that as some crime. It would be better if he was more like Wilson with the media, but if I have learned anything in all my years is that there isn’t just one way to be and everyone brings something different to the table. He seems to have a “me against the world” outlook and I suppose part of the “world” is the media. He was adopted and maybe that plays into how he sees the world. He is a great athlete and he is pretty smart (much higher Wonderlic than Wilson btw). He will find his way, but it will different from others. I guess I just have a “it is what it is” outlook on that.

    December 11th, 2013 9:38 pm

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