NEW YORK—John Isner doesn’t think much of Colin Kaepernick.
The San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback has been criticized, from commentators to fans to fellow athletes, for his recent decision not to stand during the playing of the United States’ national anthem before games.
Kaepernick’s decision to sit is in protest of a “country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
Isner respects the football player’s right to voice his opinion, but he doesn’t appreciate the manner in which he’s trying to make his point.
“I thought that was pathetic from him,” Isner told reporters after his marathon 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (3) victory over 18-year-old countryman Frances Tiafoe in the first round of the U.S. Open. “The cause he was going for, fine by me, but don’t do it in that fashion. He could have found some other ways to present his voice there.
“A lot of NBA players have done it, and good on ‘em. For him doing it in that way really irked me. I’m a big Blaine Gabbert fan now.”
As for his tennis, America’s No. 1 player is excited—and relieved—to be moving on in Flushing Meadows. After losing the first two sets, it appeared that the 31-year-old was headed for an early exit at his home Slam. But with his huge serve and vast experience playing—and winning—tight matches, he fought his way back and forced a fifth-set tiebreaker.
“I was confident in that fifth-set tiebreaker,” Isner said. “I really believed I was going to win it.”
The 20th-seeded Isner will meet Steve Darcis, who defeated Jordan Thompson, in the second round.