Rev. Jesse Jackson threw his support behind former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick, saying he believes the quarterback has been blacklisted for his political beliefs.
On Friday’s “Real Time With Bill Maher,” the Baptist minister and civil right activist says the league’s team owners “have colluded” to keep Kaepernick out of professional football.
Kaepernick made headlines last year when he began kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against black Americans. He was let go by the 49ers after the season ended, and no other team has yet to pick him up.
But, Jackson said, Kaepernick is “not burning the flag; he’s not hustling drugs to teenagers; he’s not shooting people with guns.”
Kaepernick was part of what Jackson called a “lineage” of black professional athletes who used their fame to advance political causes. “Jackie Robinson once said that he would not salute the flag nor sing the national anthem because he felt it was not protecting him,” Jackson pointed out. “Tommie Smith and and John Carlos at the Olympics showing their fists. Ali said ‘I will not go to the war.'”
Kaepernick, Jackson continued, “should have the right to play and express himself at the same time. The owners have colluded. They have decided not to have him play.”
Check out the video clip above.