NFL condemns racism and admits we were wrong – Colin Kaepernick has more support now, there is still a long way to go

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When Colin Kaepernick went down on his knees during the national anthem in 2016 to take a stand against police brutality and racial injustice, he was mostly alone.

Politicians, team owners and teammates criticized him, fans burned his jersey and he was even booed at home. Four years later, his protest is widely viewed as prescient. Global opinion has changed so much that more people are now vilifying those who attack Kaepernick or misrepresent his position.

New Orleans Saints star quarterback Drew Brees publicly apologized Thursday after being upset by teammates, fellow athletes and fans for saying he would “never agree with anyone flying the United States flag.” disregarded “.

That sentiment was voiced loudly by Kaepernick’s critics, and President Donald Trump repeated it on Friday, saying on Twitter, “I’m a huge Drew Brees fan. I think he really is one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he shouldn’t have taken back his original stance in honoring our great American flag. OLD GLORY is to be worshiped, cherished, and soaring … We should stand straight and upright, ideally with a greeting or a hand on our hearts. There are other things you can protest against, but not our Great American Flag – NO KNEELING! “

See also: Observe: Patrick Mahomes and other NFL stars urge the NFL to condemn racism and “admit the injustice of silencing players to protest peacefully”.

Still, George Floyd’s death, which sparked nationwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality, put many people to the root of the problems that led to Kaepernick’s peaceful demonstration – a phrase intended to raise awareness of such problems rather than demean the flag or anthem. The 32-year-old Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since 2016.

“The protest is really trying to hold us accountable for the things we believe in. It’s about equality and justice for all,” said Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills, who has been on his knees since Week 1 of the 2016 season goes.

This week, San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Kaepernick deserves respect and admiration for starting the protest. Pete Carroll, coach of the Seattle Seahawks, praised him for his courage and his renunciation of his career. Hall of Fame trainer Tony Dungy compared Kaepernick to Muhammad Ali.

“There are a lot of parallels between Colin and my father,” said Ali’s daughter Khaliah. “He stands 100 percent with integrity, no matter what the price. He made an unwavering commitment to the good of his people and took an implacable stance against injustice. I’ve had a lot of people trying to discourage our support for Colin, which is unthinkable to me. He is a friend of our family, he is loved and honored. “

Jacob Ali-Wertheimer, the 21-year-old grandson of the boxing legend, is a human and civil rights activist on the Harvard University campus. He is encouraged because more people support Kaepernick’s movement, but realize that there is still a long way to go.

“Many in this country do not want to address the breed. We don’t have any real dialogue on this issue, ”said Ali-Wertheimer. “It’s something we try to hide and push away, and because we don’t deal with it, I think both were ostracized in the beginning, and I think it’s wonderful that people are now going along with what Colin said.

“But we have to get to a point where people can understand and listen and appreciate his message from the start.

The NFL and its teams have expressed their support for equality and called for change. In a video released Thursday night, 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and several of his colleagues urged the league to “condemn racism and systemic oppression of blacks” and “admit the injustice of silencing players from protesting peacefully.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did so in a video released on Friday.

“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of blacks,” said Goodell. “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage everyone to speak up and protest peacefully. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter. I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country. Without black players there would be no National Football League. And the protests across the country are a symbol of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and employees. We are listening. I am listening and will reach out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve and move forward for a better and more united NFL family.

Shanahan, who coached the 49ers after Kaepernick’s last season, had strong words on the subject.

“I think people understand it much better now than they did three years ago, and I’m all for protests. I am for change, ”said Shanahan. “What is different every now and then is probably embarrassing, but I think white people are more passionate now than they were then. This is our ignorance and the annoyed black. You have every right to be upset for not only telling us this in the past few weeks. They’ve been telling us this since our grandparents, and I’ve heard it from every friend of mine since I was 14. Then I hear Champ Bailey speak about it in his Hall of Fame speech. It’s all the time and it’s too long. Whatever needs to be changed, let’s do it. “

Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan said the global pandemic has given people more time to think about racial issues.

“Back then it was just about one situation, the military, and that’s what everyone was focusing on,” said Trevathan. “I have people in my family who fought for America in the military, from different branches. So that’s not what it was about. It was about something bigger than this topic. It was about police brutality and dealing with people. At the moment I have the feeling that we are adopting a different stance because people are fed up with it. “

Kaepernick still wants a chance to play. A workout in Atlanta last November organized by the NFL turned chaotic and resulted in no job offers.

“Colin is a talented football player,” Seahawks star Russell Wilson said this week. “I remember playing against him; the man could play football. But he campaigned for something much bigger than football. And that’s people’s life. He stood up for people who have come and gone and for all who are African American and for the oppression that is going on. “

Stills, former Carolina Panthers Safety Eric Reid, and Miami Dolphins wideout Albert Wilson continued to support Kaepernick’s fight by taking a knee during last season’s anthem.

“The boos in the stadium, the people standing up and telling me to leave the country, death threats, hate mail and hate on social media were alarming,” says Stills of the pushback he was subjected to. “I still can’t understand how great the hatred is for someone who basically asks everyone to feel compassion for others.”

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