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Abdul-Jabbar on Colin Kaepernick: ‘Where Is The Support From The White Players?’
Add yet another name to the long list of current and former players who have spoken out on the NFL’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick—who is basically being blackballed out of the league because he kneeled during the playing of the National Anthem last year.
On Tuesday, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar published an article on The Hollywood Reporter. It not only called for Kaepernick to keep protesting against police brutality and racial inequality, but it was also a call on fellow NFL players to stand with him as well.
Abdul-Jabbar went on to write:
“Americans have a favorite quote to demonstrate their dedication to free speech: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” For this to be more than lip service, NFL superstars must defend athletes like Colin through boycotts or other means of persuasion. Some players already have joined him, including Eric Reid, Kenny Britt, Robert Quinn, Brandon Marshall, Antoine Betha and Eli Harold. But they add up to less than two dozen out of about 1,700 players. Where is the support from the other players, especially the white players who make up most of the top ten highest-paid players in the league?”
The hall of famer also agreed with Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman’s assessment; that Kaepernick’s talent is much better than most QB’s that have been signed and he should not be a free agent right now.
“As I look around the NFL at backup quarterbacks, it seems that his talent is superior to a lot of people who are on teams already,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “And nothing in his words or actions is groundbreaking, nothing that activist athletes haven’t said before. Yet the backlash against him seems more intense than with other outspoken athletes, like Serena Williams and LeBron James.”
“Taking a political stance can be career suicide for some athletes. Millions of dollars and their entire future can be squandered by pointing out that there is institutional racism in America, a fact already supported by “endless studies,” according to U.S. News & World Report. Athletes like Colin think it’s worth the personal sacrifice because, to them, it’s less about disrespecting America than about publicizing information that many white Americans deny. A 2016 Pew Research Center poll showed that 88 percent of blacks felt the country needed to make changes to achieve racial equality, with 43 percent skeptical that these changes will ever occur. But only 53 percent of whites agreed about the need for more changes, with only 11 percent skeptical that we’ll achieve equality. Ironically, it’s athletes like Colin who represent the unskeptical percentage — those still filled with hope, because they believe that by pointing out social injustice, we might actually eliminate it. Otherwise, they would just take the money and run, with the mantra “At least I got mine.”