Joe Theismann criticized the San Francisco 49ers for giving quarterback Colin Kaepernick the team's Len Eshmont Award, awarded to the player who "best exemplified the inspirational and courageous play" of Eshmont, questioning what Kaepernick has done to inspire courage.
"You're a 2-14 football team. He's won one football game. What has he inspired?" Theismann asked on Fox News' Outnumbered.
Kaepernick started 11 of 12 games for the 49ers this season, passing for 2,241 yards and 16 touchdowns with a 59.2% completion rate to earn a 1–10 quarterback record. But it wasn't his play that earned him the award, or the spotlight that followed him all season.
Kaepernick sparked a national debate by kneeling during the national anthem before games as a way of protesting racial injustice and police brutality.
The former Redskins quarterback disagreed with the protest, as well as with commissioner Roger Goodell's handling of it.
"I don't agree with what he's done," Theismann said of Goodell. "As a matter of fact, the American flag ... stands for the right to be able to do the things you want to do, to be able to stand up and have a difference of opinion. I agree with that part of it, but not when you're on the job."
"Everybody has the right to express their opinion, but not in the workplace."
Theismann called on the NFL to adopt a policy requiring players to stand for the anthem.
Kaepernick received the Len Eshmont Award last week. The prize is described as the team's most prestigious honor, and its recipient is decided by players.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.