Rallies in Atlanta lend support to Colin Kaepernick
ATLANTA - Passion and outrage expressed at two rallies in Atlanta in support of free agent Quarterback Colin Kaepernick. One rally took place in front of the College Football Hall of Fame, the other at Morris Brown College.
Demonstrators took a knee for Kaepernick on the campus of Morris Brown, showing their support for the player who took a knee, rather than stand, during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.
Many wore Kaepernick jerseys and carried signs, but said this goes beyond Kaepernick.
"Black men make the NFL billions of dollars a year, therefore they should have the right to bring awareness to issues impacting our community," said Mary-Pat Hector with the National Action Network.
At an earlier rally in front of the College Football Hall of Fame, more outrage against the NFL and the owners. Kaepernick has not been signed by a team and some believe the NFL has blacklisted him for taking a stand.
"These are retaliatory tactics, those tactics are not signing him," said community activist Marcus Coleman.
Not all football fans believe that. Some said it is not about Kaepernick's actions, it is about his stats.
"He has the skill sets, but he hasn't used them in the NFL in 2 years," said football fan Stephen Fulmer.
"I would look at his stats and not necessarily what he stands for, his stats probably have more to do with his job," said football fan Ken Buchanan.
Others said there is a time and a place for everything, and work isn't the place to make a statement.
"The NFL is a business, it has rules and regulations, it's essentially a job, you gotta follow the rules," said football fan Nimesh Soni.
"For the NFL and the players, it comes down to money, if a team thinks they're going to lose money having him, then they're not going to sign him," said Chris Fink.
"If the players want to express themselves before the game, fine, fans don't have to like it, then the game goes on," said Kevin Burr.
While football fans have been deeply divided over the former 49ers quarterback ever since he first made headlines taking a knee during the national anthem in protest of police brutality, the NAACP is now calling for a boycott of the NFL, saying the free agent is being treated unfairly since he hasn't been picked up by a team.
Radio host Chris Dimino with 680 The Fan knows football inside and out and understands why people would think it's unfair.
"He's one of the 96 most talented quarterbacks in the world and he doesn't have a job," said Dimino.
Dimino said Kaepernick isn't talking so no one knows the whole truth. Dimino said it could be anything from money to contracts to just not being the right fit, but Dimino doesn't think the league has blackballed him.
"That would mean each owner is getting on the phone one by one saying 'Hey, whatever we do, let's make sure this guy isn't in the league' I don't believe that is happening," said Dimino.
He added that Kaepernick wasn't the first athlete to make a political statement and he won't be the last.
"At the end of the day people want to ensure they're group, whoever their group is, has the best opportunity to win games, with a social conscience," said Dimino.