LeBron James on NFL settlement: 'I stand with Kaep'

Ben Weinrib
·Yahoo Sports Contributor
·3 min read

When news came out on Friday that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the NFL to end their joint collusion suit, the sports world was stunned.

Although a confidential agreement bars any party from talking about how much — if anything — was paid, the consensus seems to be that the former 49ers QB would have only settled if they came into a major windfall.

This was extremely welcomed news to one of Kaepernick’s biggest supporters and one of the most visible athletes: LeBron James.

“It’s important to stick up for what you believe in, you know what I’m saying? I stand with Kaep. I kneel with Kaep,” James said. “I just feel what he was talking about, nobody wanted to listen to him. Nobody ever really wanted to actually understand where he was coming from. I think that anybody that will sacrifice their livelihood for the better of all of us, I can respect that. And he’s done that. You’ve got a guy who basically lost his job because he wanted to stand for something that was bigger than just him.”

“I’m happy to see the news come out yesterday that he won his suit,” James added. “I hope it’s a hell of a lot of money that can set not only him up but set his family up, set his grandkids up for the rest of their lives. I hope that the word of what he did will live on throughout American history but also world history because it’s important for all of us, not only African-Americans but for everybody that wants to stand up for something that’s more important than them.”

LeBron James wore an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt after the death of Eric Garner. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
LeBron James wore an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt after the death of Eric Garner. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

LeBron James’ activism

Although NBA players have not knelt during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality, they have been among the most active athletes to speak publicly about those very issues. James has been one the most outspoken players, which is even more impressive considering he’s the most well-known player in a generation.

After the death of Eric Garner at the hands of New York City police, NBA players including James wore “I Can’t Breathe” shirts in reference to Garner’s final words. James and his Miami Heat teammates wore hoodies after the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin in nearby Sanford, Florida.

The Lakers star has spoken out about a myriad of other political and societal issues, as have prominent coaches Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich of the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs, respectively.

James has consistently stood by Kaepernick as well. He wore a Kaepernick shirt before a preseason game this year, donned a Kaepernick jersey ahead of the Super Bowl and even supported Nike and Kaepernick’s 30th anniversary campaign.

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