SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A former star athlete is coming to the defense of San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
All this after Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem at a preseason game.
He said he will keep on sitting until something is done about what he calls the mistreatment of minorities in this county.
On Tuesday, 49ers coach Chip Kelly assured fans the team is focused on football, not personal politics.
Kaepernick practiced with the team Tuesday.
He’s expected to start the final preseason game.
Then, the coach will make a decision on who the starting quarterback will be for the regular season.
Former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hall of Famer and culture ambassador, addressed Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the national anthem at a San Francisco forum Tuesday night, saying that freedom of speech was put into the constitution for moments like this.
He called Kaepernick’s acts “truly patriotic.”
“I think what Colin was doing was trying to attract attention to an issue that is very important to him,” Abdul-Jabbar said.
Abdul-Jabbar said he dealt with the same backlash when he rallied with others after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
“It’s important to protect the speech of people who you don’t want to hear because freedom of speech really is the basis for what America is about,” Abdul-Jabbar said.
In fact, basketball great Michael Jordan recently broke his silence on social issues, donating money and expressing anger over the death of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and the killing of police officers.
Adbul-Jabbar addressed that as well, saying in the past, Jordan opted for making money instead of addressing issues on his platform.