Early last week, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sent shock waves around the nation when he refused to rise for the national anthem.
The move was one of protest, as Kaepernick said he wouldn’t stand up or take pride in a flag for a country that consistently oppresses people of color.
“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” the quarterback told NFL.com. “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
The football star has since received major backlash for his actions, with many calling him unpatriotic and even burning his famous number 7 jersey. However, football legend Jim Brown has stepped up to voice his support for Kaepernick’s civil rights protest.
According to CNSBayArea.com, Brown was a Hall of Fame running back known for his social activism on and off the field. He was one of the most famous athletes to ever speak out on social justice issues plaguing America during the 1960s.
When asked abut Kaepernick protesting the national anthem, Brown said he backed the 49ers quarterback “100 percent.”
“I listened to him and he makes all of the sense in the world,” the Hall of Famer said during an appearance on NFL’s Total Access. “He’s within his rights and he’s telling the truth as he sees it. I am with him 100 percent.”
” I don’t know what the big issue is because this young man, in backing up his statement, becomes stronger in my mind,” Brown added.
While the football legend is all for social justice, Brown said he probably would have chosen a method different from Kaepernick’s to get his point across.
“If you ask me would I do that [protest the anthem]? No I won’t because I see it a little differently,” he explained. “I’m an American citizen. I pay my taxes. I want my equal rights. But this is my country and consequently I don’t want to open up for ISIS or for anybody that will take away what we’ve already gained.”
Though he disagrees with the way Kaepernick is protesting, Brown said he’s still proud of the football star for taking a stand and speaking up, especially during a time when most athletes are too concerned with maintaining their “all-American” image. Because Kaepernick had the courage to speak out, Brown said he hopes this will encourage other Black athletes to do the same.
“I think Pandora’s Box is open and I’m very happy that it is,” he said. “For a couple of generations, it was about making money, not messing with your image. So the money came into the culture and created a couple of generations of individuals who did not want to speak up.”
Former San Francisco 49er Jerry Rice didn’t quite express the same level of support. In a message posted to his Twitter account Monday night, Rice publicly blasted Kaepernick for “disrespecting the flag.”
Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber also condemned Kaepernick’s actions, saying, “I don’t commend him for sitting and not honoring this country and our flag.”
Supporters of Kaepernick’s stance didn’t take too kindly to the jabs and quickly dragged the two former footballers for refusing to stand in solidarity with the 49ers quarterback.
MalcolmX said anytime you get a black man speaking with power they find the nearest uncle Tom to counter what he said Tiki Barber Jerry Rice
— Buddha (@buddhacoleman6) August 30, 2016
Can some1 show me tweets that Jerry Rice & Tiki Barber posted about young black unarmed men being shot down by police? Do they exist? #TTLO
— Rico Love (@IamRicoLove) August 30, 2016
Live feed from Jerry Rice's living room pic.twitter.com/dh5EEdkftH
— Timbo (@TimmyJig) August 30, 2016
Jerry Rice? Really? How you gonna respect his stance and say he's disrespecting the flag? Mr. Mississippi?! https://t.co/tSDAIsJ9rn
— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) August 30, 2016
Jollof rice > Fried rice > Rice University > Burnt minute rice > Jerry Rice
— Felonious Munk 🇪🇹 (@Felonious_munk) August 30, 2016
Jerry Rice is just another in a long list of black athletes who once they got their $ forget exactly who they are and where they came from
— … (@mrpdpoe) August 30, 2016
So Tiki Barber has something to say about Colin Kapernick. The same man who left his pregnant wife for his 23 yr. old side piece. Okay.
— dumpsterfireseverywhere (@ROMwrtr9) August 30, 2016
Tiki Barber left his pregnant ex wife for another woman but he's asking Colin to respect a song? He can't even respect his own spouse. SMH.
— NUFF (@nuffsaidny) August 30, 2016
— الدين (@Grayse_Kelly) August 30, 2016
The more bald the Black man is, the more likely they are to be cooning it up. Shoutout Jerry Rice and Tiki Barber.
— ISBN-MELLO (@3yeAmHe) August 30, 2016