Colin Kaepernick’s status in the NFL and the ramifications of his choice to kneel during the national anthem continue to be a divisive discussion for not only the sport, but also the nation. While no team in the league has decided to take a chance on the free agent, despite numerous opportunities, his act is still influencing other players to do the same this season and gaining support outside of the locker room. Saturday morning saw dozens of former and current New York City police officers gather to support the former QB in Brooklym, including Frank Serpico, the officer who famously fought corruption in the NYPD during the 1970s and was portrayed by Al Pacino on the big screen.
The rally, which featured around 75 former officers according to ESPN, showed their support for the exiled quarterback and tied it in with events we have been seeing in the news, including the violence in Charlottesville. The rally was organized before that occurred, though, according to Sgt. Edwin Raymond, and was mainly aimed at a need for more police accountability according to the New York Times:
“As members of law enforcement, we can confirm that the issues he is saying exist in policing, and throughout the criminal justice system, indeed exist,” Sergeant Raymond said of Kaepernick…
“They said he disrespected law enforcement,” Sergeant Raymond said. “Well, I’m law enforcement, and he didn’t disrespect me.”
Serpico spoke as well, noting that while he’s not a fan of the sport, he supported Kaepernick for his message and said he’s “trying to hold up this government, up to our founding fathers.” Others on hand spoke on the attempt to curb speaking out by using terms like “antipolice” and “unpatriotic,” while Raymond called for the nation to stop treating racism as a hush-hush subject in America:
“Until racism in America is no longer taboo, we own up to it, we admit it, we understand it and then we do what we have to do to solve it. Unfortunately we’re going to have these issues”
The rally itself coincided with the many across the country protesting bigotry and hate in response to the actions in Charlottesville. Members of the Seahawks, Eagles, and Raiders have opted to sit or kneel for the national anthem so far in the NFL preseason, including Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett and Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch — the latter who claims to have been sitting for years.