Steve Kerr said on Tuesday that he always believed former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick would ultimately be seen as an important figure in history.
“My sense a few years ago is that Kaepernick would eventually be viewed as a hero,” he told Mark Medina of USA Today.
It was back in 2016 when Kaepernick began kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem as a protest against racial discrimination and police brutality. That gesture became a topic of discussion for many sports and political shows and even Donald Trump, who claimed that Kaepernick was disrespecting the flag and the military.
The irony in it all was that Kaepernick was told to kneel instead of sit during the Anthem after consulting with former NFL player and Green Beret Nate Boyer, who felt it was a more respectful gesture than sitting.
“Soldiers often take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave to pay respects,” Boyer told NPR in 2018. “So I thought, if anything, besides standing, that was the most respectful. But, of course, that’s just my opinion.”
The Golden State Warriors head coach was supportive of Kaepernick’s protest and the other NFL players who joined him by taking a knee as he said back in 2016:
“That’s what drives me crazy about the uproar over the NFL players who have knelt in a fight for social justice. So many of them have given so much to their communities—given not just money but time. I read a lot about Malcolm Jenkins in Philadelphia and what he’s done in his community. And Chris Long. And people like Colin Kaepernick who have given $1 million to charity.
“I’m so proud of so many athletes who are out there in their communities, knowing the power they have and the financial resources they have to make a change. That’s patriotism to me. The anthem is just kind of a symbol for that.”