LeBron James on Colin Kaepernick: 'I salute him'

LeBron James on Colin Kaepernick: 'I salute him'

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - LeBron James continues to show support for former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who remains unsigned by any NFL teams.

James discussed the NFL and Colin Kaepernick's situation during a recent ESPN article:

"I love football, but I'm not part of the NFL. I don't represent the NFL. I don't know their rules and regulations. But I do know Kap is getting a wrong doing. I do know that. Just watching, he's an NFL player. He's an NFL player and you see all these other quarterbacks out there and players out there that get all these second and third chances that are nowhere near as talented as him. It just feels like he's been blackballed out of the NFL. So, I definitely do not respect that."

Kaepernick signed a six-year, $126 million contract extension with the 49ers in June 2014, but opted out of the deal in March and has been sidelined ever since.

James told ESPN that he believes that the reason teams are not showing interest in Kaepernick is because of his national anthem protests.

"The only reason I could say he's not on a team is because the way he took a knee. That's the only reason. I watch football every Sunday, every Thursday, every Monday night. I see all these quarterbacks -- first-string, second-team, third-team quarterbacks -- that play sometimes when the starter gets hurt or are starters that play. Kap is better than a lot of those guys. Let's just be honest."

He also compared Kaepernick to several other prominent figures that stood for their beliefs and used their role to bring light to injustices to minorities.

"Obviously he had a vision like Martin Luther King and like some of our all-time greats that people couldn't see further than what they were doing at the point and time. And Muhammad Ali and things of that nature. When it's something that's new and it's something that people are not educated about or don't understand what your beliefs are all about, people are so quick to judge, and people are so quick to say that what you're doing is wrong. For him to sacrifice the sport that he plays and to sacrifice the things he's done his whole life because he knew what he believed in, I salute him. I salute and respect that."

The former quarterback refused to stand for the anthem starting in 2016. He told NFL Media that he was "not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for our country that oppresses black people and people of color."

Kaepernick has received both support and criticism for his protests. He has been chastised by President Trump on Twitter but also earned titles such as GQ magazine's "Citizen of the Year" and the NFL player's union "Community MVP."

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