Colin Kaepernick is offering financial assistance to protesters in Minneapolis who have been arrested and need legal representation, joining a number of others offering support to those calling for justice in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who sparked a national movement among athletes protesting police brutality against people of color, released a statement on Twitter Friday afternoon saying that he would be helping pay for their legal representation through the Know Your Rights Camp organization.
“In fighting for liberation there’s always retaliation,” Kaepernick wrote. “We must protect our Freedom Fighters. We started a legal defense initiative to give legal representation to Freedom Fighters in Minneapolis paid for by @yourrightscamp.”
In his message, Kaepernick noted that those who fight oppression will often face opposition for their efforts, which appeared to be a reference to his own plight, as he was unable to find another job in the NFL after leaving San Francisco. Kaepernick later filed a lawsuit claiming that owners colluded to keep him out of the league and settled with the NFL out of court. Many of Kaepernick’s supporters believe that he was blackballed by owners, preventing his attempts to come back.
Many have referenced Kaepernick’s efforts to peacefully protest against police brutality in the wake of the destruction that broke out across the Minneapolis area this week. Protesters demanding justice after Floyd’s death — and the viral video of a police officer holding a knee to Floyd’s neck and not removing it as the detained man said he could not breathe and then became unresponsive — started fires across the city, including at the police department’s 3rd Precinct building where the responding officers had been stationed.
Kaepernick posted a message supporting the protesters and noting that past efforts to bring attention to the issue had not been successful.
“When civility leads to death, revolting is the only logical reaction,” he said in posts on Instagram and Twitter. “The cries for peace will rain down, and when they do, they will land on deaf ears, because your violence has brought this resistance.
“We have the right to fight back!”
Other athletes have spoken out against Floyd’s death and called for justice, including Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who shared an Instagram post showing Kaepernick taking a knee beside a picture of Floyd’s arresting officer kneeling on the man’s neck. The post had the words “This.. Is Why,” making reference to the reason for Kaepernick’s protest.