Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said what pretty much the rest of sensible football fans across the nation have said in noting the absence of free agent Colin Kaepernick not appearing on an NFL roster. The veteran pigskin slinger said that Kaep’s silent and peaceful protests last season is the reason teams have not signed him.
In a profile written by ESPN, Rodgers gets real about the arc of his career and the piece dives into the life of the West Coast native and current Los Angeles resident. During the profile, the conversation turns to Kaepernick’s absence from an NFL roster in where Rodgers offers a perspective shared by many.
I bring up Colin Kaepernick. It’s July, and the media are still speculating as to why Kaepernick isn’t on an NFL roster after kneeling during the national anthem last season to protest racial inequity in policing. The word “blackballed” is being used with greater frequency, though some people in and around the NFL maintain that the quarterback simply isn’t very good. I ask Rodgers what he thinks, and he demurs at first, then says it would be “ignorant” to suggest Kaepernick’s stance didn’t play a role in his employment status.
A few weeks later, he reaffirms his point. “I think he should be on a roster right now,” he says. “I think because of his protests, he’s not.”
Rodgers tells me that while he doesn’t plan on sitting out the anthem, he believes the protests — which he describes as peaceful and respectful — are positive, mentioning that he’s had conversations with a new teammate, tight end Martellus Bennett, about the issues they represent. “I’m gonna stand because that’s the way I feel about the flag — but I’m also 100 percent supportive of my teammates or any fellow players who are choosing not to,” he says. “They have a battle for racial equality. That’s what they’re trying to get a conversation started around.”
The entire piece is worth a read, which you can find by following this link.