Talk show host and former NFL player Michael Strahan spoke out about Colin Kaepernick and kneeling for a cause in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres. According to Us Weekly, the 46-year-old said that if he was still playing ball, he would be kneeling alongside the former 49ers quarterback.
“I know why [Kaepernick] knelt was not in any disrespect to the military or anybody in the armed services because I have an appreciation for that,” said the Good Morning America co-host, whose father served in the military. “And when my father can look at me and tell me that he’s not offended and that he understands, then how could I — who didn’t do that service — be offended?”
Strahan added that Americans’ ability to peacefully protest is one of the things that is beautiful about this country. He added that Kaepernick is “protesting injustices that he sees happening. And I take my hat off to him because he really did sacrifice and put so much on the line for other people that he had no idea who they were. He never met them, did not know them, and he put his life and career on the line.”
Ellen asked Strahan if he would take part in the protest, which is meant to call attention to police brutality and racial inequality, if he were still part of the NFL, and he said he would kneel on the field as the national anthem played. But he said that before he would do so, he would have a conversation with his father about his choice and that he feels he would have organized the protest and spoken to each of the players and his team’s owners.
Strahan’s interview comes just a week after Nike announced that Kaepernick was the main feature in their 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign. The 30-year-old Amnesty International award recipient was featured in an ad for Nike that said, “Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Kaepernick was the first player to kneel in protest of police brutality and racial inequality. Though Kaepernick originally intended to sit down while the national anthem played before an NFL game, it was a military veteran who advised him to kneel, saying it was more effective. Kaepernick was joined by several other players in subsequent games. The nation has been divided over his method of protest, with some applauding the former football player and others insisting he is disrespecting the flag and veterans.
When Kaepernick’s contract with the 49ers ended in 2016, he was not signed to another team. Recently, the NFL’s appeal to overturn Kaepernick’s charge that he has been discriminated against by the league has been turned down, and the case will appear in court.