The team that last employed Colin Kaepernick is very publicly acknowledging his cause.
The San Francisco 49ers have raised a Black Lives Matter flag at Levi’s Stadium. The team posted an image of the flag on its Instagram page on Monday with a caption reading: “Indivisible with liberty and justice for all,” quoting the Pledge of Allegiance.
The flag flies alongside the American flag and the California state flag.
‘We’re focused on taking actions’
49ers CEO Jed York talked about the flag in a virtual meeting with season ticket-holders on Monday.
“First and foremost, you’re saddened and outraged when you see events take place, especially when they’re specifically violent events that are targeted at African-Americans,” York said, per the The San Jose Mercury News. “We’re focused on taking actions.
“When Colin started a protest movement in 2016, what we had talked about in talking to Dr. Harry Edwards, his message which we’ve adopted was to take protests to progress.
“We’re working with communities to make a difference. We’re allowing our employees and players to let their voices be heard.”
NFL’s shift amid George Floyd protests
The NFL player social justice movement started in earnest when Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the national anthem in a San Francisco 49ers uniform to protest police brutality.
That the 49ers are flying the Black Lives Matter flag next to the American flag appears to be a nod to that protest. It also symbolizes the dramatic move the NFL has made on the Black Lives Matter front in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death and the larger ensuing shift in public opinion.
The league that’s refused to employ Kaepernick for three seasons because of his social stances is now vocally and visibly embracing his movement.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said on June 5 that the league was wrong for its stance on player protests and said aloud that “Black Lives Matter.” The next week, he encouraged teams to sign Kaepernick.
So far there’s no movement on that front — at least not publicly.
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