Todd Kirkland/Associated Press
Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson told reporters Colin Kaeprnick should feel “very vindicated” after national protests following the death of George Floyd put police brutality and systemic racism at the forefront of the national conversation.
“It’s like a perfect storm … I think people are finally starting to see, he was right … what he was talking about then … He should feel very vindicated … I’m glad that now it’s changed, the narrative has changed and the majority of people are seeing exactly what he was talking about, and what a lot of people have been talking about, screaming about, for a long time,” Jackson said Wednesday.
Jackson said the narrative of Kaepernick’s protests got hijacked and his message became “clouded” when people attempted to make the issue about the anthem or flag. Kaepernick began protesting by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 after a conversation with Nate Boyer, a former Army Green Beret, on how to respectfully demonstrate.
“His message, 100 percent, got clouded and it really clouded for insidious reasons, right?” Jackson said. “The reason it got clouded is they wanted to make it about something that it wasn’t. They didn’t want to talk about the real issue he was bringing up, which now is at the forefront of our society—everyone is seeing exactly what is happening.”
Kaepernick has been out of football since the end of the 2016 season. He settled a collusion lawsuit against the NFL last year that claimed the league’s ownership group refused to sign him because of his anthem protests.
Several NFL players, including Washington running back Adrian Peterson, have said they plan on kneeling during the 2020 season in response to continued racial injustice. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was vehemently criticized last week when he condemned anyone “disrespecting the flag.” Brees has since issued several apologies.
Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with the second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter of Floyd after kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Two pathologists have ruled Floyd’s death a homicide.
Floyd’s death sparked worldwide protests and led to the planned disbandment of the Minneapolis police department.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted the league was wrong in its attempts to quell peaceful protests in a video that posted Friday.