NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — After a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black man in Oklahoma, a handful of New York Giants are reportedly considering joining Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest.
Kaepernick, a backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, has refused to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” since the preseason, citing racial oppression and police brutality.
Members of seven other NFL teams either kneeled or held up clenched fists during the anthem in Week 2. The Giants have so far not protested.
But some of the players say they’re now thinking about trying to raise greater awareness about lethal force used by police against minorities following the killing of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Friday. The 40-year-old was waiting for help after his SUV broke down along the road. Minutes later, Officer Betty Shelby arrived on the scene and opened fire, killing Crutcher. Shelby said Crutcher was behaving erratically and ignoring her commands and she believed he might be reaching into the vehicle for a weapon, according to her lawyer.
“As of right now, we’re not doing anything different, but that could change,” Giants linebacker Keenan Robinson told Newsday. “We are guys who have a voice, and we understand our voice is seen and heard across the world.
“A couple of the guys on the team have talked about it (in the past),” Robinson said. “We want to do it appropriately and effectively if we do it. We don’t want to do it in a dishonorable manner or a disrespectful way.”
Running back Rashad Jennings said he is involved in a text message chain with more than 80 other players who are discussing the protests. He said he also has spoken with Kaepernick.
“Remove football for a minute, and this is life,” Jennings told Newsday. “These are real issues that people are dealing with on a daily basis that are blinded by a lot of entertainment. And we’re a part of who we are entertaining. We’re football players. It’s Sunday, people think ‘What are they doing? What’s my fantasy points look like?’ In reality, people are dying.”
Jennings said he has not yet decided how he will approach the national anthem when the Giants host the Redskins on Sunday.
He said he does have concerns that Kaepernick’s message could be getting lost.
“It becomes about ‘How many people are going to take a knee, take a stance,’ instead of people thinking about, ‘you know what, maybe Kaepernick has a point,'” Jennings told the New York Daily News.
A few players have discussed their concerns with coach Ben McAdoo, the Daily News reported.
He said in August he would be disappointed if players did not participate in the national anthem, but seemed to back off those statements Wednesday, saying, “The league is a platform to make a difference, and I encourage them too, and I’d like to be involved in it and (do) anything I can do to help.”
On Tuesday, Kaepernick said he has received death threats through social media and other avenues.
Kaepernick said he has not alerted 49ers team security about the threats and understood that could happen once he began his protest.
“To me, if something like that were going to happen, you’ve proved my point,” he said. “It would be loud and clear for everyone why it happened. That would move this movement forward at a greater speed than what it is even now. Granted, I don’t want that to happen. But that’s the realization of what could happen.”
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