In 2016, Colin Kaepernick infamously sat down during the National Anthem before consulting a veteran who told him it would be more respectful to kneel instead. He was doing so to bring attention and protest against systemic racism and police brutality in the United States.
This protest made a large majority of the country dislike him to this day. The very mention of his name gets people riled up. Even then-President Donald Trump attacked him and the players who joined him.
While recounting the season where he and Colin Kaepernick were teammates, Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith said on a recent podcast he struggles to understand how his former backup isn’t in the NFL.
“It still doesn’t make sense,” Smith said. “The run that he went on the last year we were together when we went to the Super Bowl…[it] was so crazy to watch. Truly one of the historic runs in football to see what he was doing. He still holds records from that time period. Really special. It’s crazy that fast forward to only a couple of years after that he’s out of the league. You couldn’t even grasp it. You couldn’t understand it.”
“I think it’s so tragic looking at it. I think he was ahead of his time, certainly, trying to call out social injustice, especially around police reform,” Smith said of Kaepernick. “The country wasn’t ready. Nobody was ready for it, and he’s sitting there trying to tell everybody through a completely peaceful manner about some of the things going on in this country that had been going on for a long time.
“To see the backlash that happened, yeah, it hurts. The country wasn’t ready for it and he suffered the repercussions with his job and then how brave he was. He lost his livelihood.”
Kaepernick has not played a single game in the NFL since the 2016 season ended.
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