The civil rights activist claimed professional team bosses had “colluded” in stopping former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick from playing, after he took to kneeling during the national anthem before games last year to protest against racial injustice and police brutality.
“He should have the right to express himself,” Jackson said of the quarterback who is now a free agent, with just weeks until the new season starts. “He’s not burning the flag, he’s not hustling drugs to teammates, he’s not shooting people with guns,” he added.
Jackson said Kaepernick was the latest in a line of professional black athletes to use their status to highlight social and political issues — such as boxer Muhammad Ali, who refused to fight in the Vietnam war.
“The (NFL team) owners have colluded,” said Jackson. “They have decided not to have him (Kaepernick) play and he should have the right to play and express himself at the same time.”
Jackson’s comments came just two days after hundreds of Kaepernick’s supporerts rallied outside the NFL’s New York City Headquarters to demand the league protect players who undertake advocacy.
Check out the full interview above.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.