You would think that Colin Kaepernick, of all people, would be congratulating the NFL on their multitude of social justice gestures during opening week in 2020, but no.
Kaepernick became infamous in the latter stages of his career after taking a knee during the national anthem in protest of what he described as racial inequality. This was all the way back in 2017, and the response that he received from the NFL fandom was swift and uncomplimentary. Even after the QB left the league, many fans refused to tune back in, lamenting the NFL’s approach to dealing with the protests.
Now, with Kaepernick on the outside looking in, the NFL is reacting to the national mood again, this time attempting to cash in on the latest bout of unrest by supporting players in their own social justice efforts. This includes kneeling before the games and wearing key phrases from the equality movement as part of their uniforms.
Kaepernick has apparently seen through the gimmicky outreach.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said NFL social justice initiatives were “propaganda” on Sunday as scattered protests marked the first full day of the 2020 season.
Kaepernick, who launched his kneeling protests in 2016 to draw attention to racial injustice, questioned the sincerity of the NFL’s stance against racism, citing the fact that fellow player-activist Eric Reid remained unemployed.
Reid, who joined Kaepernick’s protests in 2016 when the two played for the 49ers, was released by the Carolina Panthers in March in a move that surprised many.
The 28-year-old safety, who continued to kneel last season during the pre-game playing of the US national anthem, has not been hired since.
“While the NFL runs propaganda about how they care about Black Life, they are still actively blackballing Eric Reid for fighting for the Black community,” Kaepernick wrote on Twitter.
The lack of support that Kaepernick has given to the newly “woke” NFL is perplexing to many, who believed that his original protest was the logical precursor to what we’re seeing today.