NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — NFL legend Jim Brown is backing Colin Kaepernick’s stance not to stand for the national anthem.
The Hall of Famer and former Cleveland Browns running back told the NFL Network he is behind the San Francisco 49ers quarterback “100 percent.”
“I listened to him, and he makes all the sense in the world. He’s within his rights, and he’s telling the truth as he sees it. I am with him 100 percent,” Brown explained.
However, Brown said he himself would not protest racial inequalities in the U.S. by sitting through “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“Now if you ask me, ‘Would I do that?’ No, I won’t, because I see it a little differently. I’m an American citizen, I pay my taxes, I want my equal rights, but this is my country, and consequently I don’t want to open up for ISIS or anybody that will take away what we’ve already gained,” Brown said.
Kaepernick, who has sat through the anthem for all three 49ers preseason games so far, is prepared to keep fighting for what he believes in — even alone.
“The fact that it has blown up like this, I think it’s a good thing. It brings awareness,” Kaepernick told reporters Sunday. “Now, I think people are really talking about it. Having conversations about how to make change, what’s really going on in this country. And we can move forward. … There is police brutality. People of color have been targeted by police.”
Brown, who has fought for civil rights for decades, said he’s glad to see more athletes become outspoken about racial issues in America.
“Absolutely, I think Pandora’s Box is open. I’m very happy that it is,” Brown told the NFL Network. “So many years, we had the great Michael Jordan, who stated that Republicans buy sneakers, too. … And for a couple of generations, it was about making money, not messing with your image. And the agents became the pivotal figure for a lot of these guys. And the agents kept reminding them that you have to be this all-American boy to make these kind of dollars, and these dollars are astronomical dollars. So the money came into the culture and created a couple of generations of individuals who did not want to speak up.”
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