Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James believes that Colin Kaepernick has been blackballed by the NFL for his protests during the national anthem, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
“I love football, but I’m not part of the NFL,” James said on Sunday. “I don’t represent the NFL. I don’t know their rules and regulations. But I do know Kap is getting a wrong doing, I do know that. Just watching, he’s an NFL player. He’s an NFL player and you see all these other quarterbacks out there and players out there that get all these second and third chances that are nowhere near as talented as him. It just feels like he’s been blackballed out of the NFL. So, I definitely do not respect that.”
“The only reason I could say he’s not on a team is because the way he took a knee,” James added to ESPN. “That’s the only reason. I watch football every Sunday, every Thursday, every Monday night. I see all these quarterbacks — first-string, second-team, third-team quarterbacks — that play sometimes when the starter gets hurt or are starters that play. Kap is better than a lot of those guys. Let’s just be honest.”
Kaepernick remains a free agent since opting out of his contract in March. Last year, he started protesting during the national anthem in order to raise awareness for the racial and social injustices in America. Kaepernick filed a collusion grievance against the NFL owners.
James said that he has not been in touch with Kaepernick.
James has supported Kaepernick’s decision to protest during the national anthem since 2016. James has not protested during the anthem before NBA games and the league made it a violation of NBA rules if they did so in the 2017-18 season.