Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and Super Bowl star Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed as of Sept. 10 at the official start of the National Football League’s 2017 season. Seattle Seahawks’ defensive end and Super Bowl star Michael Bennett was attacked by Las Vegas cops on Aug. 27. These facts continue to spark protests around the country, on and off the field.
Both Kaepernick and Bennett, who are African American, have been protesting racist police brutality.
While Bennett sat during the playing of the national anthem in Green Bay, Wisc., white teammate Justin Britt put a hand on his shoulder in solidarity. On the same day, Bennett’s brother, Martellus, who plays for the Green Bay Packers, as well as Philadelphia Eagles’ safety Malcolm Jenkins, raised their fists in protest.
Cornerback Marcus Peters on the Kansas City football team refused to stand during the national anthem at a nationally televised game with the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots on Sept. 7. Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem before playing the Tennessee Titans.
Kaepernick expressed his appreciation to Stephen Curry, star guard with the National Basketball Association’s Golden State Warriors, who posted #freekap on his Twitter feed while attending the opening game for his favorite NFL team, the Carolina Panthers, in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers’ quarterback and 2015 most valuable player, Cam Newton, questioned at a recent press conference why Kaepernick is not playing for an NFL team.
A Los Angeles rally in solidarity with Kaepernick for social justice and against police murders was held outside the LA Coliseum on opening day for the home team Rams. A coalition of religious and community leaders, led by the National Action Network, blocked a driveway into the stadium. Organizer Najee Ali was arrested and released. Many of the passersby showed appreciation for the rally for Kaepernick. Inside the LA stadium, Robert Quinn from the Rams raised his fist during the national anthem.
About 100 people marched outside Chicago‘s Soldier Field and held a “Standing 4 Kaepernick” rally as the Bears played their opening game. Some sports bar owners in Chicago are boycotting the NFL in solidarity with Kaepernick by refusing to show any games.
A number of civil rights groups and other activist groups associated with Black Lives Matter have called for a boycott of the NFL season.
Contributors to this story include Jeff Sorel, Maggie Vascassenno and mYia X.