A conversation surrounding race relations and police brutality has gripped the United States in light of George Floyd’s killing, and the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers are chiming in.But some fans are saying it’s too little, too late.
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Outrage boiled over nationwide after white former police officer Derek Chauvin suffocated Floyd — an unarmed black man — by kneeling on his neck for more than eight minutes while arresting him under suspicions of using a fake $20. Floyd died of asphyxiation, and Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.The 49ers participated in #BlackoutTuesday — a movement intended to signal support for Black Lives Matter — on their social media platforms, posting black screens and writing “Black Lives Matter” as a caption. But in the comments, many users noted that the team was notoriously silent when one of its star players brought attention to the Black Lives Matter cause back in 2016.
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Colin Kaepernick — the former quarterback and outspoken activist — last played in the NFL when he was San Francisco’s starter in 2016. The dual-threat quarterback drew attention — and ire — for kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest against police brutality in the United States. He has since been blackballed from the NFL and settled with the league after suing for collusion alongside former teammate Eric Reid.
The 49ers’ decision to speak out against police brutality this week, some four years after their starter came under fire for doing the same, struck a chord with many. The team did not actively support Kaepernick in deflecting the immense blowback he faced for his peaceful protest, so some fans viewed San Francisco’s decision to deliver the message now — when it’s both convenient and suddenly backed by the league itself — as hypocritical.—Meredith Cash (@mercash22) June 2, 2020—internetboy (@jaquezmus) June 2, 2020—Lola (@MrsJamesBond) June 2, 2020—Dee Holt ❄️➏ (@D_1andOnly_) June 2, 2020—Coldforge (@GrabbitSlayer) June 2, 2020—Smaug? (@Smaug55) June 2, 2020Reid — who kneeled with Kaepernick while the pair played for the 49ers — criticized the team and its leadership for its social media posts on Twitter Tuesday.—Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) June 2, 2020—Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) May 31, 2020In another tweet, Reid noted that San Francisco CEO Jed York “begged me not to kneel” behind closed doors. Kaepernick retweeted the message on his own page.—Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) May 31, 2020 He didn’t stop there. Reid called out many NFL franchises — and the league itself — for making statements in support of the Black Lives Matter movement given their lack of action in protecting Kaepernick up until this point.
—Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) June 2, 2020—Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) June 2, 2020—Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) June 2, 2020—Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) June 2, 2020When protests began erupting across the country, Kaepernick tweeted in favor of “revolting” and “resistance.” For the most part, his Twitter feed has focused on protests themselves rather than happenings around the NFL.—Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) May 28, 2020