Protests supporting Colin Kaepernick planned for NFL’s first week

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Forty-niners safety Eric Reid, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and linebacker Eli Harold take a knee during the national anthem, September 25, 2016.  Photo: ABC screenshot
 
Little doubt remains that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being blackballed by the National Football League for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police violence against Black people and other people of color. Many quarterbacks with less impressive records have been signed, but Kaepernick still doesn’t have a job. 
 
One hundred, seventy-one thousand people have signed an online petition pledging to boycott the National Football League unless former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick plays. Civil rights groups have announced a protest in support of Kaepernick outside the NFL offices in New York City on August 23rd. A #StandingforKaepernick campaign has also scheduled a nationwide protest and boycott at the NFL’s first games. Speaking on TMZ, Chuck D, leader of the rap group Public Enemy, encouraged the protest but also criticized professional sports as an institution:
 
Chuck D: Think about it. It’s like you have owners and you have players. The fact that somebody owns you makes it a weird dynamic anyway. Y’know they have the choice and right to do whatever they want to do in their own colluded field. But it’s up to the fans to also protest. I don’t they could land him with a team.
 
TMZ: You think the protest is kinda futile? You know how I mean?
 
CD: Yeah, well the sports teams are owned by owners. Right there that tells you that sports is a crazy ass dynamic. I think every protest needs to be looked at as being warranted with some consciousness, but y’know, look around. If you wanta protest, don’t go to the sports bars, don’t turn the game on, leave your team for a year.  
 
TMZ: You think people are willing to do that? ‘Cause you know how NFL fans are.
 
CD: Do I think people are willing to do that—in the United States of America??? 
 
TMZ: Yeah!
 
CD: The average fan is witness that the country is sports crazy driven as it is. ESPN got like 500 shows. And sports journalists are like superstars these days. So I mean the business of sports has permeated and seeped into the average everyday person where they think it’s a part of their life. And y’know, I mean we’re not gettin’ on the field, or  on the court, or on the ice, or on the diamond, man. We just watchin’ it. So, if you gonna protest on the outside, do your best to connect it to somethin’ that’s real.
 
Many eyes are on the response of the players, both Black and White, and some have said that the NFL players union should make an issue of the Kaepernick blackball.  Running back and Oakland Raider Marshawn Lynch expressed his support for Kaepernick in a late night show conversation with Conan O’Brien:
 
Marshawn Lynch: Well, I mean, y’know with what’s goin’ on, y’know I rather see him take a knee than stand up, put his hands up, and get murdered. So I mean my take on it Is BLEEP, it gotta start somewhere and if that was a startin’ point, I just hope people open up they eyes to see that it’s really a problem goin’ on and somethin’ needs to be done for it to stop. And I mean if you really not racist, then you won’t see what he done, what he’s doin’, as a threat to America, but just addressin’ a problem that we have.
 
Lynch, aka Beast Mode, is a star with a bad boy reputation who came out of retirement to play for the Raiders’ during their last two years in Oakland. He said he wanted to give kids in Oakland a chance to see an Oakland native play for a hometown team. Last Saturday in Phoenix, at the Raiders first preseason game, he sat down and ate a banana during the anthem.
 
Times, dates, and locales of protests for all the NFL's first season games can be found at https://www.standing4kaepernick.org/.
 

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