Williams, who defeated her older sister Venus Williams, said after the match that she admires the stance Kaepernick and Reid have taken on racial justice.
“I think every athlete, every human, and definitely every African American should be completely grateful and honored how Colin and Eric are doing so much more for the greater good, so to say,” Williams said. “They really use their platform in ways that is really unfathomable. I feel like they obviously have great respect from a lot of their peers, especially other athletes, people that really are looking for social change.”
Kaepernick was the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem, and Reid was the first teammate to join him. Neither player has been able to find another NFL team since leaving the 49ers, and both are bringing a collusion case against the NFL.
Williams has faced her own criticism over the national anthem, from a different direction: She does stand for the anthem despite her Jehovah’s Witness faith. She’s been criticized by other Jehovah’s Witnesses, who say she is violating their religion’s teachings by standing for the anthem. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that standing for patriotic rituals is a form of idolatry, and they have sued for the right not to stand for the anthem.