In his first lengthy interview since being released from prison, O.J. Simpson refused to talk about his murder trial, but he did weigh in on Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protests, calling them a “mistake.”
“I think Colin made a mistake,” the former NFL star and convicted felon said in an interview with Buffalo News published on Friday. “I really appreciate what he was trying to say. I thought he made a bad choice in attacking the flag.”
Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, was the first player to kneel during the “Star-Spangled Banner” last year in protest of police brutality and racial inequality, a protest which eventually expanded across the league and drew criticism from as high as the White House.
“The flag shouldn’t be disrespected because of what cops do,” Simpson said. “The flag represents what we want America to be … When he did it the first time, I thought, ‘Well, you took a gamble, and I give you credit.’ But it was him continuing to do it where he made the biggest mistake.”
Simpson was released from Lovelock Correctional Center in October after being sentenced to nine to 33 years for armed robbery and kidnapping following a 2007 incident in Las Vegas. He had previously been acquitted in 1995 in the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman.
“I’m a firm believer of doing what you think is right, but I would always stand for the flag,” he continued.
Simpson played for the Buffalo Bills from 1969 to 1977 and has kept close ties with the New York state city since.