• The Star Staff

The NFL embraces progressive action, but not yet Kaepernick

By Ken Belson

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the NFL, a league that has wrestled with racial issues for years, has shown unusual unity. Players, coaches, league officials and owners have expressed sadness, remorse and a commitment to seek solutions to police violence against African American people and other forms of social injustice.

Yet the specter of Colin Kaepernick still looms large over any conversation of football and race. As the league grapples with next steps to take, many players say that the NFL must address Kaepernick, who in 2016 began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality toward African Americans, if its newfound progressive stance is to be viewed as legitimate.

“It’s definitely a different social climate now, and I’m praying it’s not going to be lip service,” said Chris Conley, a wide receiver on the Jacksonville Jaguars who helped organize a march of players, coaches, staffand their families from the team’s stadium to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s office last week. “A lot of balls were dropped in 2016, and people realized things could have been handled better. There’s a feeling we didn’t do enough last time.”

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