Colin Kaepernick is a modern-day Rosa Parks, according to a local youth activist planning to host a rally for the unsigned quarterback.
Stonecrest resident Mary Pat-Hector, 19, a national youth director for Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, said she will host a rally in support of Kaepernick in the metro-Atlanta area in the upcoming months.
Last year, Kaepernick said he took a knee during the national anthem before every NFL game to bring awareness to social injustice for Black people in America. Some took offense to the protest, saying the demonstration was offensive to veterans and military personnel.
Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in March and became a free agent. As of Aug. 14, Kaepernick remains unsigned and his supporters believe his unemployment status is due to his protest.
“What he did was not wrong, and we want the NFL to support him,” Hector said. “He’s a great player and he has the right to freedom of speech. He has the right to bring awareness to these issues.”
Hector said she will lead the protests in support of Kaepernick in the metro-Atlanta area as part of National Action Network’s national movement. The support group has a website, standforkaepernick.org, and plans to protest the first NFL game played at every NFL stadium this season.
The group is also calling for a total boycott of the NFL unless Kaepernick is signed to a team.
“All he did was humbly take a knee. He’s being blacklisted. It’s disgusting to me to see how racist these organizations are. [Kaepernick] was tired of seeing our lifeless bodies plastered all over the news. If he can take a knee, we can take a stand,” Hector said.
Hector said the protest will be held Sept. 17, but did not specify a location, citing safety concerns.
Last year, Kaepernick had a completion percentage over 90, throwing for 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. Kaepernick finished the year 1-10 as a starter and had the sixth lowest interception percentage behind Tom Brady, Dak Prescott, Sam Bradford, Derek Carr and Aaron Rodgers.
“Statistics will show you that there are players that have been [signed] and don’t have the same [numbers] Kaepernick has,” Hector said. “I encourage people to come to our rally, visit our website and support the movement. I know it’s hard because there are people who are die-hard fans, but if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”
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