Protesting Gamers ‘On the Proper Aspect of Historical past,’ Union says – Black Enterprise
History has consistently confirmed players who stand up for social justice, said those in charge of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) before the Super Bowl in Tampa on Sunday, although they were criticized and even abused by fans.
Colin Kaepernick sparked a controversial firestorm in 2016 when he kneeled in front of the national anthem playing to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
The move prompted then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s Vitriol, who suggested that the former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers “find a country that works better for him”.
Kaepernick has not been able to find a job in the NFL since the end of this season.
“I’m proud of the fact that our players were on the right side of history,” NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith told reporters on Friday.
“Dave Meggyesy, a union leader, was probably the first player to protest during the national anthem when he was protesting the Vietnam War,” he said of the linebacker, who played for the then St. Louis Cardinals and retired in 1969.
Smith said the tradition continued when former St. Louis Rams players took to the field and made the “hands up” gesture after the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri , don’t shoot ”made in 2014.
“Colin (Kaepernick) and a number of players marginalized their votes … I am proud that our players had the courage to do the right thing when they didn’t know how they would be treated,” he said.
The death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis in May, sparked widespread protests among athletes across the sports landscape and an urge to vote before the November presidential election and the Georgia Senate runoff in January to register.
Linebacker and NFLPA Vice President Sam Acho said a turning point had come when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last year he wished the league had listened to Kaepernick sooner.
“I think that was a big statement. I don’t know if the property was behind him in that statement. As far as I know, they were surprised he said that.
“For us as players, be it in communities where there are teams or in other communities we live in, I think that has always been the case and we will continue to be serious about making changes in our communities.”
However, all sides believe that more work needs to be done.
On Thursday, Goodell said he was not happy with this year’s head coach hiring cycle, with only one of the league’s vacant positions going to a diverse candidate.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Amy Tennery in Tampa; Editing by Ken Ferris)