Colin Kaepernick has a powerful ally in the form of the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. The NBA’s all-time leading scorer would like Kaepernick to have a few more of them.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar published an essay in The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, encouraging Kaepernick to continue his protest against police brutality and racial inequality and calling on other NFL superstars – especially well-paid white players – to defend him.
Americans have a favorite quote to demonstrate their dedication to free speech: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” For this to be more than lip service, NFL superstars must defend athletes like Colin through boycotts or other means of persuasion. Some players already have joined him, including Eric Reid, Kenny Britt, Robert Quinn, Brandon Marshall, Antoine Betha and Eli Harold. But they add up to less than two dozen out of about 1,700 players. Where is the support from the other players, especially the white players who make up most of the top ten highest-paid players in the league?
The former Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers legend also shares Richard Sherman’s opinion that, in terms of talent, there’s no reason Kaepernick should still be a free agent.
“As I look around the NFL at backup quarterbacks, it seems that his talent is superior to a lot of people who are on teams already,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “And nothing in his words or actions is groundbreaking, nothing that activist athletes haven’t said before. Yet the backlash against him seems more intense than with other outspoken athletes, like Serena Williams and LeBron James.”
One of the most politically active athletes of his era, Abdul-Jabbar has since supported players in many sports for taking stands against various injustices.