- Colin Kaepernick will go on to join the likes of Muhammad Ali and Rosa Parks in the history books.
- That is according to former NFL star Osi Umenyiora, who believes all three figures share one clear thing in common – they all stood up for what they believed in.
- Kaepernick’s situation with the NFL and his new marketing campaign with Nike, have proved polarising.
- Video protests show Nike products being destroyed and President Donald Trump said Nike’s ad sends “a terrible message.”
- But Umenyiora believes those against Kaepernick’s stance will “look back in the future with regret.”
Colin Kaepernick will take his place alongside Muhammad Ali and Rosa Parks because he stood up for his beliefs, according to former two-time Super Bowl winner Osi Umenyiora.
“Looking further back down the line, back in history, we’ve already seen what Muhammad Ali, what Rosa Parks have done,”Umenyiora told BBC Radio 5 Live on Thursday. “And when you look into the future, Colin Kaepernick is going to go down as this particular type of athlete, somebody who took a stand for something he believed in.”
Kaepernick was recently put front-and-centre of Nike’s 30th anniversary ad campaign. An ad tweeted by Kaepernick on Monday read: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
The ad has thrust Kaepernick’s situation with the NFL back into the consciousness of the mainstream media as Kaepernick, an American football quarterback and free agent, has not played in the NFL since opting out of his San Francisco 49ers contract in 2017. Before that, the 30-year-old achieved global fame when he began kneeling during pre-game national anthems as a form of protest to police brutality against black people in the US.
Kaepernick has also accused the NFL of colluding against him to keep him out of the league. The New York Times reported last week that “lawyers for Kaepernick unearthed enough information for the case to proceed to a full hearing.”
Umenyiora, a former NFL star having played ball for the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons, believes Kaepernick’s situation and actions are reminiscent of two of the most prominent figures in American history.
Ali took a stand in 1966 when he refused to be inducted into the armed forces and considered himself a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War. He famously said: “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong,” and “no Viet Cong ever called me n—–.” He was stripped of his licence to box, of his passport, was slapped with a $US10,000 fine, and did not fight from 25-years-old, to 28.
Parks took a stand 11 years before Ali when the civil rights activist refused to give up her seat in the “coloured section” of a bus for a white passenger. She was arrested for civil disobedience and given a $US10 fine.
Kaepernick’s stand puts him in this company, according to Umenyiora. But the stance has proved polarising as video protests online showed Nike products being destroyed, while the hashtag #BoycottNike has trended on Twitter. Even President Donald Trump said Nike’s ad with Kaepernick “sends a terrible message” during an interview with conservative news outlet The Daily Caller.
But Umenyiora believes Kaepernick is on the right side of history and those “against it” will “look back in the future with regret.”
He added that Kaepernick will be “regarded as someone that did something special.”
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