The president of the NAACP compared 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick to civil rights hero Rosa Parks because of his refusal to stand for the national anthem before football games.
“It’s a lofty name, but it’s not a stretch,” Cornell William Brooks told USA Today on Thursday. “We’ll let history be the judge, how consequential Kaepernick’s action is.”
Brooks said Kaepernick’s protest against social injustice in the U.S. would successfully spur change only if others joined the professional football player in the “movement.”
“There’s been no movement in this country that has succeeded upon the heroism of any one individual,’’ Brooks said, “but rather the loyal, committed, concerted, and sustained action of a group of people. So you have to partner.”
Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner told the Seattle Times on Thursday the entire team may sit during the pre-game performance of the Star Spangled Banner before their season-opening game on Sunday, Sept. 11, to show solidarity with Kaepernick.
Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall knelt while the national anthem was played before a game against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday.
Kaepernick told NFL Media last month he refused to stand up because he did not want “to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color” and would continue to sit during the national anthem until he feels the American flag “represents what it’s supposed to.”
He has vowed to take his protest “a step further,” and said on Wednesday that he has met with civil rights activists across the U.S.
“I’ve had a lot of conversations about how to address this issue practically and with reasonable solutions that we feel can be implemented … whether it’s legislation or in the communities to make sure that these changes are happening,” he said.
President Obama defended Kaepernick’s protest Monday, saying the quarterback was “exercising his constitutional right” by refusing to stand for the anthem. Veterans and military families, meanwhile, have largely been critical of Kaepernick’s protest, calling it disrespectful to those who have served.