Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III weighed in on the NFL's Black Lives Matter statement on Wednesday with a tweet saying that the NFL owes Colin Kaepernick an apology and that Kaepernick should be playing for the New England Patriots. The tweet garnered over 78,000 likes, more than 12,600 retweets, and over 18,000 comments.Last week, the commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell, posted a video statement on the official NFL Twitter account. Goodell said that the NFL had made a mistake by not properly addressing the peaceful protests that many of their players engaged in by taking a knee during the National Anthem at NFL games. He apologized on behalf of the league and said that the NFL is committed to listening to its players. Goodell also stated that the NFL supports peaceful protests. The apology was general and did not mention any of the players who did take a knee by name.
Kaepernick, who was formerly a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, started kneeling during the National Anthem at football games in August of 2016 to protest police brutality against Black Americans, according to The Washington Post. His peaceful protest gained the attention of other players, who started to kneel during the anthem as well, and soon the protests were a topic of public conversation and public vitriol.
Many people opposed the protests because they thought it was disrespectful to the American flag to refuse to stand during the anthem, per The Washington Post. Kaepernick insisted that he wasn't anti-flag or anti-American and that he was simply exercising his right to peacefully protest to raise awareness around the issue of racially motivated police brutality.
At the end of the 2016 season, Kaepernick did not renew his contract with the 49ers and in spite of the skill he displayed in the 2016 season, no other teams wanted to sign him, The Washington Post reported. Rumors started circulating that Kaepernick had been blacklisted, and he hasn't played professional football since.
Kennedy is one of several public figures that have suggested the NFL owes Kaepernick a public apology. Malcolm Jenkins, a defensive back for the Eagles, also said the NFL needs to apologize to Kaepernick and that it should offer him a spot on a team. Other players, NFL commentators, and sports analysts have echoed these sentiments as well.So far, Kaepernick has not directly responded to the statement Goodell made on behalf of the NFL. According to The Washington Post, since the death of George Floyd, Kaepernick has been dedicating his time to supporting protests against police brutality.