Though the NFL has made strides in supporting its players' rights to protest, LeBron James believes there is still more work to be done. Notably, the NBA star believes the league should apologize to quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
"As far as the NFL, I'm not in those locker rooms, I'm not with those guys but I do understand that an apology, I have not heard a true, official apology to Colin Kaepernick on what he was going through and what he was trying to tell the NFL and tell the world about why he was kneeling when he was doing that as a San Francisco 49er," James said during a Zoom interview with Bloomberg business week.
"I just see that to still be wrong, and now they are listening some but I still think we have not heard that official apology to a man who, basically, sacrificed everything for the better of this world," James said.
Kaepernick has been out of the NFL since 2016, the same season in which he began kneeling during the national anthem in order to bring attention to police brutality and racial injustice in America. Until last month, the league had not made many comments in support of Kapernick or any athlete's stance.
That changed toward the end of May after the murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by a Minneapolis police officer. The murder of Floyd and others caused nationwide protests and civil unrest. Additionally, professional athletes have been vocal about needing to see change. The NFL has since said it will support players' rights to protest following a moving video featuring some of the game's biggest stars.
Commissioner Roger Goodell has encouraged teams to sign Kaepernick, but there has not been an official statement acknowledging the problems he faced when he began kneeling and speaking out four years ago. According to NFL Network's Michael Silver, there are teams interested in bringing the quarterback in. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, teams have been unable to get a look at him on the field.
"Colin Kaepernick, who has not played since 2016, finds himself in the same situation that Cam Newton and Jadeveon Clowney do," Silver said. "Which is a team that would be ready to sign him would want to work him out."
NFL teams are set to being training camp at the end of July.
As for James, he and other NBA players are gearing up for the resumption of their season in Orlando at the end of the month as well. Despite playing in a bubble, James, who has one of the largest platforms, doesn't play on stopping his fight to justice and equality.
"I know what I do on the basketball court can bring a lot of happiness to a lot of households, including my own and including my community and my kids. So I'm looking forward to the season getting restarted, getting back in a Laker uniform and continuing to push the envelope not only on the court, but off the court," James said. "I won't stop until I see change."
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