Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson is starting to wonder whether NFL players will need to stage Colin Kaepernick-style protests this fall. While several players came forward in the last week promising they will be taking a knee during the anthem this season, Jackson wondered not only if those demonstrations are needed but also if they will be effective moving forward.
Jackson talked to the media on Wednesday via a conference call and went into his thoughts on Kaepernick.
“It’s like a perfect storm,” Jackson said, according to Jeff Legwold of ESPN, “I think people are finally starting to see, he was right [in] … 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 believes the George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests that have been carried out across the nation for the last few weeks have changed the narrative. Not long after the protests began, a group of players recorded a video aimed at Roger Goodell and NFL ownership, asking the league to finally listen. In response, Goodell made his own video in which he apologized for not being better in recognizing what Kaepernick was protesting. Goodell didn’t mention the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback by name but said the league would not stand in the way of kneeling during the anthem in the future.
Jackson told the media he felt a light was shined on Kaepernick’s rationale for protests. Now that people understand why the quarterback was doing it, there may not be a reason to continue. He added that it could end up setting the movement back.
“I don’t know if [kneeling] will have the most net positive outcome because of the way it gets so, such a hyperpartisan issue,” Jackson said, “really because they don’t want to talk about the real issue.”
The running back made it clear he would support anyone who feels they need to kneel this season. Jackson said he’s participated in several Black Lives Matter protests in Los Angeles this summer. He added that he understands it’s a First Amendment rights issue and that he thinks anyone who wants to practice those rights should do so. The player said he feels that Kaepernick’s protest and the reason for doing it “got clouded” and he’s worried it will continue to get clouded even with the heightened awareness around it this year.