Jim Brown is 100 percent with Colin Kaepernick
The Colin Kaepernick story isn’t going away, folks. Since the San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s controversial decision to stay seated as the national anthem played before last Friday’s preseason contest between the Niners and Green Bay Packers, it seems as if everyone has made their thoughts known on the matter. From Donald Trump to Jim Harbaugh to Jerry Rice and seemingly everyone on social media, comments continue to roll in by the minute. You can now add NFL Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown to that list.
Brown, who is considered by many to be the greatest NFL player in history, has never been one to back down from a controversial topic. When Brown burst onto the NFL scene in 1957, he certainly didn’t hold back about equal rights in a league that limited the number and influence of black players and he certainly didn’t hold back as he discussed the Kaepernick controversy on Monday’s edition of NFL Total Access.
"“I listened to him and he makes all the sense in the world. He’s within his rights and he’s telling the truth as he sees it. I am with him 100 percent. … Now if you ask me ‘Would I do that?’ No I won’t, because I see it a little differently. I’m an American citizen, I pay my taxes, I want my equal rights but this is my country, and consequently I don’t want to open up for ISIS or anybody that will take away what we’ve already gained.”"
Following his nine-year NFL career, Brown continued to be a voice in social activism and has been applauded by many in the athletic community for decades as being somewhat of a pioneer for the multiple generations of African-American athletes that have benefited from what he and others fought so hard for.
Brown went on to say that what he and others did opened the door for guys to be able to make the kind of money they’re making today, which in Kaepernick’s case is $61 million in guaranteed money as part of a six-year, $114 million contract. It’s been more than 50 years since Brown left the NFL but he feels as if he’s gone back in time to when he was fighting for “freedom, equality and justice for all human beings.”
In recent years, image has been everything to athletes. The fear of speaking out for what you believe in, especially if it’s a controversial subject, could result in the loss of sponsors, which obviously results in the loss of dollars. Brown says that there were a couple of generations of athletes that were afraid to say anything about anything for fear of losing money, specifically citing the instance when Michael Jordan famously said that “Republicans buy sneakers, too.” Brown believes that the number of athletes willing to stand up for what they believe in will grow and the fear that athletes have of public backlash and scrutiny will continue to diminish as time goes on.
Despite the backlash that he’s received since the incident, Kaepernick has stated that he will continue to refuse to stand for the national anthem moving forward. That backlash towards Kaepernick’s actions will likely continue from a lot of people, but at least he can rest easy knowing that he’s got a guy like Jim Brown on his side. Now, whether or not he’ll keep his job is another story.