When Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest police brutality in 2016 – four years before it was “cool” to do so – the NFL allegedly blacklisted him and refused to hire him for their teams. Now, NFL legend Brett Favre has come forward to call Kaepernick a “hero” because, like Pat Tillman, the NFL star who became an Army Ranger, he put his dream on hold to fight for something he believed was right.
Brett Favre is a Hall of Fame quarterback. He now wants the world to know that he believes Kaepernick will soon be idolized as a hero for standing up for Black people and other marginalized groups. Black people in the United States have been shown, again and again, to be the unfair victims of racial profiling by police departments across the country. And when they are profiled, they are often put at risk of death.
Like Kaepernick, Pat Tillman, who was a safety for the Arizona Cardinals, left the NFL in 2001 to join the Army. In 2004, he was killed by American friendly fire during his tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Kaepernick is a native of Wisconsin. He grew up cheering for Brett Favre and looking at him as the ideal of what an all-American quarterback should be. Because Kaepernick has not been signed by the NFL since 2016 – the year his protests began – many see him as a victim of racial profiling by the NFL and its team owners.
“Pat Tillman’s another guy who did something similar, and we regard him as a hero,” Favre told TMZ after the reporter asked him if Kaepernick had become a figure like Jackie Robinson or Muhammad Ali. “So, I’d assume that hero status will be stamped with Kaepernick as well.
“It’s not easy for a guy his age, black or white, Hispanic, whatever, to stop something that you’ve always dreamed of doing, and put it on hold — maybe forever — for something that you believe in,” Favre said.
Despite not being hired by an NFL team after he took a knee to protest racial inequality in America, many other NFL players have continued to follow in Kaepernick’s footsteps and keep the protest alive during the pregame playing of the National Anthem.
As for Favre, he doesn’t see why an NFL team wouldn’t hire Kaepernick, who remains a better quarterback compared to many people playing in the league today.
“I think from a football sense — I can’t imagine him being that far out of shape or that far out of touch with football that he doesn’t deserve a shot,” Favre told TMZ. “And he’s still young and hasn’t been hit in several years. So there’s no reason to think that he’s lost that much of a step.”
In 2017, President Trump used an image of Tillman to attack protestors. Tillman’s widow wrote a statement to CNN, clarifying that Tillman “should never be politicized in a way that divides us.”
“The very action of self-expression and the freedom to speak from one’s heart — no matter those views — is what Pat and so many other Americans have given their lives for,” she wrote. “Even if they didn’t always agree with those views.”