(AP) — The NAACP on Wednesday called for a meeting with the NFL to discuss the fate of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the national anthem to protest police brutality against African-Americans.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback once took his team to the Super Bowl, but he’s a free agent now and no club has signed him.
Some Kaepernick opponents say he should not have sat or kneeled during the anthem, while others contend his lack of a job is more about his on-field talent.
Kaepernick’s supporters, including some who planned to protest at the NFL’s headquarters in New York City on Wednesday, say the quarterback is being blackballed for his advocacy.
The NAACP intended to join that rally, and Derrick Johnson, the organization’s interim president and CEO, said in the letter to the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, that it’s apparently “no sheer coincidence” that Kaepernick isn’t on a roster today.
“No player should be victimized and discriminated against because of his exercise of free speech — to do so is in violation of his rights under the Constitution and the NFL’s own regulations,” Johnson said.
Hazel Dukes, the NAACP’s state president in New York who was expected to be among the rally speakers, said: “Right now, the action of the league seems to imply to young black men that this league, which is comprised of 70 percent African-Americans, only values black lives if they are wearing a football uniform.”