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updated: 11/15/2019 3:42 PM

O’Donnell: Godfather of ‘Black Power’ salute at Olympics says Bears could use Kaepernick

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  • Dr. Harry Edwards, left, and former wide receiver Jerry Rice talk things over before an October 2018 game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams in Santa Clara, Calif.

    Dr. Harry Edwards, left, and former wide receiver Jerry Rice talk things over before an October 2018 game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams in Santa Clara, Calif.
    Associated Press


THE BEARS NEED ANOTHER NEW ACT in their 2019 circus like the Congress of The United States needs more partisan divide.

But when it comes to Colin Kaepernick, don't tell that to Dr. Harry Edwards, the mythic sociologist who was one of the architects of the iconic "Black Power" salute by Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

"The Bears would do well to get him," Edwards -- now a professor emeritus at Cal-Berkley -- told The Daily Herald.

"And I'm basing that on my three decades of player personnel work and cutting up film for Forty-Niners teams beginning under Bill Walsh."

Edwards declined to overtly criticize NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or the curious circumstance of Kaepernick's showcase "workout" in Atlanta this weekend.

The 77-year-old educator has been very active in the tweetosphere on the topic, though, microblogging, among other things:

• "TRUST BUT DELIVER must be the watchwords, not fatalistic cynicism. Otherwise, no reason to come to the table at all."

• "From slavery, Black people have NEVER been perceived as creditable (sic) witnesses to own experiences/articulations of own actions/priorities."

And, to a tweeted suggestion that Kaepernick's agreeing to the pass-and-pony show was a sign of capitulation to the league's ruling elite, Edwards replied:

• "Sorry (that) is 'funhouse mirror'/' 'toon town' thinking with impossibly 'bent'/'warped' logic/perceptions."

In other words, Edwards fully expects transparency to reign and that the 32-year-old Kaepernick will resume his NFL career after an apparent blackballing that has extended for more than 2½ seasons.

Certainly optimistic thinking, galaxies away from the defiant black gloves of Mexico City, but here may the most telling numbers about the arc of Kaepernick purely as a pro QB:

• In his initial three seasons as the primary starter for San Francisco (2012-14), the Niners were 25-14 with a trip to Super Bowl 47.

• In his final two (2015-16), SF was 3-16.

They need that sort of extra funhouse mirror at the theme park known as Halas Hall?

TROY AIKMAN GOT IT RIGHT in real time as Thursday night's Cleveland-Pittsburgh game came to its violent end on Fox:

"That's barbaric. That's all it is."

Cleveland's Myles Garrett began to find out just how barbaric on Friday when the NFL handed him a "minimum" suspension entailing the final six games of the Browns' upended season. Maurkice Pouncey of the Steelers, who repeatedly kicked Garrett's helmeted head while he was down, got three games along with a fine while CLE's Larry Ogunjubi got one game and a fine. All suspensions are without pay.

Garrett's malevolent helmet swing at bareheaded Steelers QB Mason Rudolph also quickly began drawing comparisons to the Ron Artest-driven melee in the stands at The Palace of Auburn Hills -- ironically 15 years ago this week, Kermit Washington's devastating punch to the head of Rudy Tomjanovich (1977) and even Juan Marichal's notorious bat to the cranium of John Roseboro in a 1965 Giants-Dodgers game.

The deviation was even more pronounced upon review of a credible feature that appeared on Bleacher Report in May.

In it, Garrett was quoted as saying:

"I'm the kind of guy who is always respectful of the game.

"I want to beat you, but I don't want to do anything dirty.

"I want to do it the clean way.

"You don't want to do something that hurts the team."

As Johnny Morris would say, "OK!"

If there was any sort of hero in the surrealism, it was Pittsburgh guard David DeCastro, who coolly laid his 6-5, 316-pound body face-to-face atop Garrett until the furor subsided.

Local connection: DeCastro is married to Bonnie Butler DeCastro.

Her grandfather is Lloyd Meyer, the fabled "Milk Man" who coached the Arlington Heights American Legion baseball team for an amazing 65 seasons (1954-2018).

STREET-BEATIN': As news of Jimmy de Castro's impending retirement as overseer of Entercom/Chicago's seven-station cluster broke in this space on Thursday, at least one longtime pal was encouraging the imaginative broadcast whirlwind to write his autobiography. (And he should.) ... Hot report that under terms of the new lease deal with ESPN, Craig Karmazin and his Good Karma Brands can go local in morning-drive on AM 1000 beginning next year. A knowledgeable industry mind says GKB must devote another day part to some element of ESPN national programming. (But freeing a.m. would be huge, like a newspaper regaining its front page.) ... NBC Sports publicists have been working overtime this week trying to "sell" patty-cakers with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth to regional media, a sure sign the network knows it has a kennel-clubber on its hands with the Bears-Rams Sunday night (WMAQ-TV, 7:20 p.m.). ... Great back channeling on Michaels: A fellow staffer on the Arizona State student newspaper was close chum Bill Overend, later a tremendous reporter for the L.A. Times and the son of the late Marion Schillinger of Arlington Heights. Stepbrother Steve Schillinger made "60 Minutes" as a pioneer of online gaming from a base in Antigua, where he was found dead of a gunshot wound in 2013. ... Jimmy G Watch: Slightly more than 20 percent of the nation will get Sunday's Arizona-San Francisco game (Fox, 3:25 p.m.), but not Chicago. (There oughta be a law; Garoppolo greatly missed tight end George Kittle and later WR Emmanuel Sanders during the avoidable OT loss to Seattle Monday night.) ... Enduring Illini Kent Brown reports that "The Lovie Smith Show," hosted by Bill Barnhart, can be heard Mondays at 10 p.m. on WLS-AM (890). It will get an extended run this season. ... With the 2019 "Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions" now in the books, free credentialed consult for the quiz's staff writers: 1) In your annual showcase event, make sure that categorized clues are properly "weighted," and, 2) "Simple" trumps "strained" and "accessibly clever" beats all. ... And cagey Casey Rush asked a valid question when the possibility of David Montgomery missing the CHI-LAR game came up: "Who'd notice?"

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at