One of the big reasons Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel for the national anthem last season is because it gave him a chance to protest publicly against an issue that he says needs to be fixed right now: Police brutality. Days after his first protest in August, Kaepernick specifically mentioned police brutality against minorities as something that would have to change before he would be willing to end his protest.   

“There’s a lot of things that need to change,” Kaepernick said. “One specifically? Police brutality. There’s people being murdered unjustly and not being held accountable. People are being given paid leave for killing people. That’s not right. That’s not right by anyone’s standards.”

With his year-long protest, Kaepernick was hoping that at the very least, citizens would start holding officers more accountable. 

“There is police brutality,” Kaepernick said. “People of color have been targeted by police. So that’s a large part of it and they’re government officials. They are put in place by the government. So that’s something that this country has to change. There’s things we can do to hold them more accountable. Make those standards higher.”

Since Kaepernick’s protest started in August 2016, one of the most high-profile cases involving an officer shooting was the death of Philando Castile. Castile died in July after he was shot five times by Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez during what was supposed to be a routine traffic stop. 

After Castile died, Yanez was charged with manslaughter in a case that went to trial on May 30. Eighteen days after the trial started, the verdict was announced on Friday, and Yanez was found not guilty in Castile’s death. The verdict upset many people, including Kaepernick, who took to Twitter on Friday after the outcome was announced. 

After sending condolences to the Castile family, Kaepernick used the social media forum to compare modern police to the runaway slave patrol of the 1700 and 1800s. Kaepernick’s tweet was retweeted more than 30,000 times. 

If Kaepernick has proven one thing over the past 10 months, it’s that he’s not going to stray from his message at any cost, even it means that NFL teams won’t sign him. Despite being arguably one of the top-3 quarterbacks on the free agent market this year, Kaepernick only visited with one team (the Seahawks), and he still hasn’t signed with anyone. 

Although Roger Goodell insists that Kaepernick isn’t being blackballed, one comment from Giants co-owner John Mara definitely seems to ring true: There are a lot of fans who don’t like Kaepernick. Back in May, Mara said that hundreds of fans threatened to boycott the team if the Giants signed Kaepernick.It only takes one look at Kaepernick’s Twitter feed to realize that it’s not just Giants fans who have an issue with the free agent quarterback. 

Although plenty of fans support Kaepernick, the ones who don’t are the ones who might keep him from getting a job. Even if Kaepernick’s not technically being blackballed, it’s possible that Mara’s comments are a peek into the mindset of other owners: Teams don’t want to deal with the backlash or fan vitriol that might come with signing a player who would likely only be a backup quarterback.

Don’t look for Kaepernick to change his ways just to get an NFL job, though. If the quarterback has proven one thing over the past 10 months, it’s that he strongly stands for what he believes in, and he’ll likely continue to do that even it costs him a chance at getting another shot in the NFL.  



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