‘I think every athlete, every human, and definitely every African American, should be completely grateful and honored …’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Tennis star Serena Williams praised controversial NFL players Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid during the U.S. Open on Friday, saying people should appreciate that Kaepernick and Reid began kneeling during the national anthem.
“I think every athlete, every human, and definitely every African American, should be completely grateful and honored how Colin and Eric are doing so much more for the greater good,” Williams said, according to The Washington Post.
Kaepernick and Reid have been the most visible examples of the controversial kneeling, which both players claim is a way to protest police brutality and economic inequality.
Explaining his reasons for the protest, Kaepernick told NFL Media,“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color … To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Williams applauded the “unfathomable” way they had used their platform in the NFL to make a political statement.
“I feel like they obviously have great respect from a lot of their peers, especially other athletes, people that really are looking for social change,” she said.
The tennis star is currently part of an ad campaign with Kaepernick celebrating the 30th anniversary of Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan.
However, Kaepernick’s involvement met with considerable backlash on Monday, causing Nike’s market worth to plunge by about $3.75 billion.
In response to the fallout, which included trending hashtags such as #JustBurnIt, Williams tweeted her support.
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) September 4, 2018
Kaepernick and Reid are both free agents, since both remain unsigned in the NFL.
Kaepernick has gone unsigned since he regularly began kneeling during the national anthem, and he has filed a legal complaint against franchise owners, arguing they secretly conspired to keep him off the field.
Reid also filed his own legal grievance and hasn’t been able to find a new team since 2017.