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Kaepernick calls July 4th a ‘celebration of white supremacy’

The San Francisco 49ers Eli Harold (58), Colin Kaepernick (7) and Eric Reid (35) kneel during the national anthem on Oct. 2, 2016, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group/TNS)
July 06, 2020

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick characterized Independence Day as a “celebration of white supremacy” in a Saturday tweet.

“Black ppl have been dehumanized, brutalized, criminalized + terrorized by America for centuries, & are expected to join your commemoration of “independence”, while you enslaved our ancestors. We reject your celebration of white supremacy & look forward to liberation for all. ✊🏾,” Kaepernick tweeted.

Kaepernick’s July 4 tweet was accompanied by a video showing pictures of slavery, and later with videos of violent police interactions with Black people, displayed over a video of fireworks.

The video features a narration of the Frederick Douglass speech “What to a Slave is the Fourth of July?” narrated by Black actor James Earl Jones.

Kaepernick rose to national attention in 2016 when he began a national anthem protest by kneeling before while the song was sung before each NFL game. Kaepernick adopted his activist stance during the anthem as a protest of police brutality against Black people. His protest spread across many players and teams in the NFL football league.

Kaepernick has continued his social activism since leaving the 49ers in 2017 to become a free agent. At the same time, Kaepernick has struggled to find an opening to join another NFL team. Kaepernick’s struggles to continue with the football league have led to some allegations he had been blackballed from the teams.

Last month, as protests began over the May 25th death of a Black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis Police Custody, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell encouraged teams in the league to sign Kaepernick once again.

“I welcome that,” Goodell said of the idea of signing Kaepernick.

Other members of the NFL such as quarterback Brett Favre, also spoke out in defense of Kaepernick over the past month.

Favre recently compared Kaepernick’s career disrupting activism to that of the former Arizona Cardinals’ player Pat Tillman, who gave up his NFL contract to become a U.S. Army Ranger after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.. Tillman later died in combat in Afghanistan in a 2004 friendly fire incident. Favre said both men put their football careers in jeopardy for something they believed in and said Kaepernick deserved similar hero status as Tillman.

“We regard [Tillman] as a hero. So, I’d assume that hero status will be stamped with Kaepernick as well,” Favre said.