After about three years as a free agent, Colin Kaepernick will be back on the field Saturday afternoon showing off his skills to at least 11 teams.
And many Americans, both football fans and not, are showing they still support the activist.
#StillWithKap was trending for hours ahead of Kaepernick’s league-arranged workout near Atlanta.
“The NFL took away his job when he accepted the people’s job as a symbol of resistance, as a philanthropist, as an organizer for young people. @Kaepernick7 should have both jobs. I’m hoping today is the first step + throw + catch in that direction,” tweeted author and professor Ibram X. Kendi.
Filmmaker and former NFL player Matthew A. Cherry also showed his support, simply writing “Kill it today,” followed by the hashtag.
Others directed their messages to the NFL, such as Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
“As I have said, the test today is not for @Kaepernick7. It is the @NFL that is on trial. Do right by this young man, NFL. Just, do right,” she wrote.
How Kaepernick got here
Kaepernick, despite leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013, has been a free agent since the 2016-17 season — the same season he began sitting, and then kneeling, during the national anthem to protest police brutality against African-Americans.
After opting out of his contract with the 49ers at the end of the season, no team offered the quarterback a contract. Later that year, he filed a grievance against the league, accusing team owners of colluding to keep him from being signed because of his protest. Though the NFL denied any collusion, Kaepernick’s struggles have garnered backing from stars like Rihanna and LeBron James.
The NFL denied any collusion. Kaepernick and former teammate Eric Reid, who knelt with Kaepernick, settled their cases in February. Reid now plays for the Carolina Panthers.
Kaepernick says he’s ‘in shape and ready’
In August, Kaepernick posted a video of him working out on Instagram, with the caption “5am. 5 days a week. For 3 years. Still Ready,” signaling to teams that he was still interested in a future in football.
On Tuesday, when news of Saturday afternoon’s workout broke, Kaepernick tweeted, “I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday.”
Since not being on the field, Kaepernick has founded the global Know Your Rights Camp, which hosts events in cities aimed at educating and empowering people of color. He has also donated $1 million to organizations fighting for social justice.
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