Tennis superstar Serena Williams recently praised Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid in an interview with ESPN W. According to The Root, Kaepernick and Reid appeared at the U.S. Open and were met by tremendous applause. The game, which occurred on Friday night, featured Williams playing against her sister, Venus. Williams won the game and will “advance to the fourth round.”
After the game, Williams said she hadn’t seen the two former NFL players in the stands but was quick to praise them for their actions.
“I think every athlete, every human and definitely every African American should be completely grateful and honored how Colin and Eric are doing so much more for the greater good, so to say. They really use their platform in ways that is really unfathomable. I feel like they obviously have great respect from a lot of their peers, especially other athletes, people that really are looking for social change,” said Williams.
Williams herself has become an icon for social change. She has always been vocal about respectability politics and the policing of women’s bodies. Earlier this month, the president of the French Open, Bernard Giudicelli, took exception to her outfit, a black catsuit meant to help decrease her chances of getting blood clots. He said he wants to institute a dress code next year, and added that her catsuit “will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and the place.” According to the Daily Edge, Williams has played her last few games in tutus.
Like Williams, Kaepernick and Reid have worked to stand against injustice. After the former San Francisco 49ers players kneeled during the national anthem before several football games, the league has seemingly blacklisted them from the industry. Since the end of their contracts, neither player has been signed to a team. While they have both been clear about the point of the protest – which seeks to bring light to the issue of police brutality – many have been outraged at their actions and feel that it disrespects the American flag, national anthem, and veterans.
As of this week, according to USA Today, an “an arbitrator is sending Kaepernick’s grievance with the NFL to trial, denying the league’s request to throw out the quarterback’s claims that owners conspired to keep him out of the league because of his protests of social injustice. A similar grievance is still pending by unsigned safety Eric Reid, who played with Kaepernick in San Francisco and joined in the protests.”