Former 49ners Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is receiving support from current and former NYPD officers as part of an effort to get another job in the NFL. The rally, held on Saturday, was led by former NYPD officer, Frank Serpico. Serpico is known for speaking out about corruption in the police department during the 1970’s. His actions were chronicled in the 1973 film Serpico starring Al Pacino.
Serpico participated in the Brooklyn event in spite of not being a fan of football. He believes that Kaepernick is upholding the rights afforded to Americans by the government and the Constitution.
75 other officers also attended the event. Most of them were also in the minority. They wore black shirts that indicated their support for the Quarterback. Kaepernick decided not to renew his contract in March of this year and became a free agent. As of now, he has not been invited to join another team. Kaepernick quietly protested in support of the Black Lives Matter movement by taking a knee during the Pledge of Allegiance at NFL Games. It generated overwhelming support for Kaepernick.
But the NFL does not seem to feel the same way given that Kaepernick is not signed yet. Online petitions have circulated in recent weeks in an attempt to change this reality with football season coming up rapidly. The NAACP of Atlanta announced that it will be boycotting the NFL as a result of its unwillingness to support Kaepernick.
During a press conference on Friday, the NAACP of Atlanta announced the boycott, saying that they demand Kaepernick return to the league and that it is not a request. The organization statement went on to say that football wouldn’t be played in Georgia until there was a change. After the press conference, Arthur Blank, the owner of the Atlanta Falcons released his own statement maintaining that he has nothing to do with the NFL’s overall position and has opposed discrimination for a long time.
In addition to physical protests, support campaigns have also hit the internet. The #blackout campaign launched on YouTube. It consists of a video that calls out NFL owners for their stance on Kaepernick, saying that the NFL has supported other players through much more serious and criminal offenses. Their reason for not supporting Kaepernick relates to feared backlash from sponsors. Throughout the campaign video, participants expressed that they won’t watch NFL football, buy merchandise or participate in Fantasy Football.
Whether or not these efforts will have an impact remains to be seen. But the NFL is now in a position of risking the ire of fans or lack of sponsor support.
NYPD Sergent Edwin Raymond spoke at Saturday’s rally calling for a need for racial healing in the United States and to acknowledge and solve problems related to it.
Another protest will take place at NFL headquarters on Wednesday, August 23rd in hopes of changing the mind of the NFL Commissioner. Kaepernick became a controversial figure for his decision to protest but many hope that he will continue to play football in the NFL.
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