All eyes were on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees Monday night as he broke the NFL record for career passing yards against the Washington Redskins, but it was Saints running back Alvin Kamara who left fans with a poignant message.
After the 43-19 victory over the Redskins, Kamara emerged from the locker room sporting a San Francisco 49ers jersey — Colin Kaepernick‘s, of course — and a red hat bearing the words “Make Africa Home Again.” The player’s postgame attire soon made headlines after New Orleans Times-Picayune reporter Josh Katzenstein snapped a photo of Kamara and posted it to social media.
The picture garnered plenty of reactions, mostly from fans who cheered the NFL star for using his platform to speak up about social justice issues. The irony of the phrase on his hat, a play on President Donald Trump‘s infamous “Make America Great Again” slogan, was also a hit.
“This is what Trump’s hat would say if he could get away with it,” one fan wrote. “It puts the administration’s daily veiled racism on blast. It’s irony. Good lord.”
Others believed the was hat was a nod to Kamara’s African/Liberian heritage, as well as the teachings of pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey. A fan explained, “Garveyism’s aimed at bringing the African Diaspora back to the continent of Africa and end European colonialism.”
Kamara’s statement comes the same week Eric Reid returned to the NFL and continued to take a knee during the national anthem in his first game with the Carolina Panthers. Reid played alongside Kaepernick in San Francisco and was the first to join the quarterback in kneeling to protest racial injustice in America.
The 26-year-old safety remained unsigned to a team for months following the controversy and filed a grievance against the NFL accusing owners of colluding to keep him out of the league as punishment for the on-field protests. Meanwhile, Kaepernick is still looking for a team to sign him after more than a year.
Kamara’s postgame outfit served as a poignant reminder that the issues that prompted Kaepernick to kneel in the first place are still at the forefront of people’s minds. Kamara joins the ranks of several athletes who’ve used their platforms to spark social change.
Last year, he, along with nine other Saints players, sat during the national anthem before their Sept. 24 game against Carolina in Charlotte.