‘I’m not going to act like my whiteness has nothing to do with me standing before you now…’
“While I’m enjoying all of this unprecedented and, frankly, a little bit uncomfortable attention and personal access, in large part due to my activism off the field, Colin Kaepernick is still effectively banned from the NFL for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of known and systemic police brutality against people of color, known and systemic racial injustice, known and systemic white supremacy,” she said.
Rapinoe became the public face of the U.S. women’s soccer team during its successful championship run last summer due to her flamboyant hair and her Twitter feud with President Donald Trump.
However, while drawing attention to the oft-neglected sport, she also drew criticism for disrespecting the U.S. flag and national anthem.
Kaepernick—who is mixed race and was raised by affluent, white parents—began the anthem-kneeling movement to protest racial injustice and police brutality during the 2016 season.
After being benched for performance reasons by the San Francisco 49ers, he declined to renew his contract the following year.
When no other teams leapt to sign him, he claimed he had been blacklisted for his political advocacy. He filed grievance against the league, alleging that team owners had colluded to keep him off the field, and later settled for an undisclosed amount.
Although NFL ratings suffered from the controversy due to boycotts from offended fans, Kaepernick also capitalized on it by accepting several awards and signing a lucrative marketing contract with Nike.
But Rapinoe, an outspoken LGBT advocate, said race was the obvious the reason she had succeeded while Kaepernick continued to be oppressed and ignored.
“I see no clearer example of that system [of racial injustice] being alive and well than me standing before you right now,” Rapinoe claimed.
“I’m not going to act like my whiteness has nothing to do with me standing before you now. I don’t want to live in that kind of world,” she continued. “I don’t think that kind of world is the world that suits everybody and is going to move us forward in the direction that we need to go.”
Ironically, Rapinoe’s grandstanding at Glamour came as the NFL announced it is trying to rehabilitate Kaepernick.
The league is conducting a widely publicized workout for the free-agent quarterback after several teams inquired about his athletic “readiness.”
The Dallas Cowboys have confirmed they plan to send an agent to watch the workout, as well as the Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions and several others.
The list lends itself to speculation over how Kaepernick’s politics would go over on teams that have pushed back against virtue-signaling players.
If the Cowboys pick up Kaepernick, they could hold him to the same standard as Michael Bennett, a recently acquired defensive end who agreed to stand on the sideline during the national anthem at every game.
While playing for teams like the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, Bennett was one of several NFL players to follow Kaepernick’s lead in the anthem protest.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said last month that he’s confident Bennett knows what the expectations are and that in him, “we’ve got a player who knows how we do it here with the Cowboys.”
Kaepernick said on Twitter that he’s eager to get back on the field and that he’s been “ready” to rejoin the NFL for the past three years.
I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday. I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) November 13, 2019
Even if Kaepernick isn’t given the chance to protest systematic injustice in the NFL again, Rapinoe told the Glamour audience there will be others, like herself, who will take up the mantle.
“It would be a slap in the face to Colin, and to so many other faces, not to acknowledge and—for me, personally, to work relentlessly—to dismantle that system that benefits some over the detriment of others, and frankly is quite literally tearing us apart in this country,” she said.
Liberty Headlines’ Ben Sellers contributed to this report.