The nation’s oldest civil rights organization on Wednesday requested a meeting with the NFL Commissioner to discuss First Amendment rights and players, namely former San Francisco 49er’s quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the national anthem.
“Last season, Mr. Kaepernick chose to exercise his first amendment right by protesting the inequitable treatment of people of color in America. By quietly taking a knee during the national anthem, he was able to shine a light on the many injustices faced by people of color, particularly the issue of police misconduct toward communities of color. As outlined in your office’s public statement, this act of dissent is well within the National Football League’s stated bylaws. Yet, as the NFL season quickly approaches, Mr. Kaepernick has spent an unprecedented amount of time as a free agent, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that this is no sheer coincidence. No player should be victimized and discriminated against because of his exercise of free speech – to do so is in violation of his rights under the Constitution and the NFL’s own regulations.”
Since then, other players around the country have refused to stand as well, re-igniting a firestorm of debate.
Goodell's spokesman did not immediately respond for comment on Wednesday.
The NAACP’s regional branches including the New York and Conneticut State Conferences, the Providence Youth Council and the St. John’s University College Chapter will also participate in the New York City-based “United We Stand” rally in support of Kaepernick’s right to free speech, which will take place Wednesday at 5 p.m. in front of the NFL headquarters.