New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley has a high profile. He’s an electrifying talent in a big market. He had one of the top five selling jerseys in 2018. He’s going first overall in most fantasy drafts this season.
Yet, Barkley hasn’t been the type to create much controversy. Which is fine; plenty of famous athletes aren’t into creating headlines off the field.
That’s why it was a bit surprising to see Barkley defend Colin Kaepernick and offer his thoughts on why Kaepernick isn’t in the NFL.
Saquon Barkley offers opinion on Colin Kaepernick
Kaepernick, of course, hasn’t played since the 2016 season, when he famously took a knee during the national anthem to bring attention to social justice issues. He reached a financial settlement with the NFL over a collusion grievance.
Barkley doesn’t tweet a lot but retweets plenty of things, like Simone Biles’ incredible achievements, Lonzo Ball’s new tattoos and highlights of himself. He also retweeted the instantly viral video of Kaepernick working out, reminding everyone he’s still looking for an NFL job.
Barkley told the New York Daily News, “I’m not afraid to speak my mind.”
“If a fan wants to not be a fan of me because I retweet a thing for Colin Kaepernick, I don’t care,” Barkley told the New York Daily News. “But I respect that people have their own opinions. Everyone is entitled to that. I just would hope that people respect I have a right to my own opinion, as well.”
On Kaepernick, Barkley didn’t sidestep the issue. Last week President Donald Trump said Kaepernick should be in the NFL “if he’s good enough.”
“He’s not in the league not ’cause he can’t play,” Barkley told the New York Daily News. “I mean, is that fair to him? Because of his belief or what he views?”
Barkley respects Kaepernick’s comeback attempt
In the Daily News story, Barkley didn’t feel like he was being more vocal in his second season. He explained that he has always been willing to speak out, he just has resisted speaking out on issues in which he wasn’t well-versed. He said in those cases, he would educate himself on the subject before answering the question.
Barkley told the Daily News he met Kaepernick this spring at a charity celebrity softball game near Atlanta, hosted by rapper Quavo, and respected that Kaepernick continues to work out as he hopes for another shot.
“I’ve always been vocal and understand I have a platform,” Barkley told the Daily News. “But hey, if I retweet a video of Colin Kaepernick working out and staying ready for the NFL and people dislike that, so be it.”
– – – – – – –
More from Yahoo Sports: