NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Saying Colin Kaepernick has been “ostracized” over his political views, a New York City-based group is voicing its support for the free agent quarterback by organizing rallies around the country Wednesday.
Kaepernick is still looking for a team after opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in March. Some believe that teams won’t sign him because he refused to stand for the national anthem last season while he protested racial oppression and police brutality in the United States.
The group 100 Suits for 100 Men, which works with parolees who are trying to re-enter the workforce, is planning a show of solidarity at the NFL’s Manhattan headquarters at 5 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN reported. At least 15 rallies in all are planned around the country, including in Brooklyn, Harlem, Chicago, Miami and Washington, D.C.
Kevin Livingston, president of 100 Suits for 100 Men, told ESPN he wanted to help Kaepernick after the former 49ers quarterback donated 50 suits to help parolees on job interviews.
“He stood up for us,” Livingston said. “It’s only right that he took our issues in our communities and brought it to a national level and sacrificed salary and being ostracized by the NFL. It was only right that we stand up for him.
“We’re not protesting. This is not anti-NFL. This is not going against the police,” Livingston added. “What we’re doing exactly is we’re showing solidarity to the league on behalf of Colin Kaepernick.”
Livingston said Kaepernick has not been involved in the planning of the gatherings.
Scheduled to speak at the NFL headquarters rally are former NBA player Etan Thomas; state Sen. James Sanders Jr., D-Queens; rapper Rah Digga; and Emerald Garner, one of the daughters of Eric Garner, who died in a confrontation with police on Staten Island in 2014.
The 49ers selected Kaepernick in the second round of the 2011 draft. A year later, he led San Francisco to the Super Bowl. But the once-promising star has struggled mightily over the past two seasons, being yanked in and out of the lineup and going just 3-16 as a starter.
Kaepernick, 29, has said through his representatives this offseason that he doesn’t plan to continue kneeling during the anthem.