The civil rights activist said professional team bosses had “colluded” in stopping former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick from playing, after he protested against racial injustice and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem before games last year.
“He should have the right to express himself,” Jackson said of the quarterback, who is now a free agent, with just weeks until the new season starts. “He’s not burning the flag, he’s not hustling drugs to teammates, he’s not shooting people with guns.”
Jackson said Kaepernick was the latest in a line of professional black athletes to use their status to highlight social and political issues — such as boxer Muhammad Ali, who refused to fight in the Vietnam War.
“The [NFL team] owners have colluded,” Jackson said. “They have decided not to have him play, and he should have the right to play and express himself at the same time.”
Jackson’s comments came just two days after hundreds of Kaepernick’s supporters rallied outside the NFL’s New York City headquarters to demand the league protect players who undertake advocacy.
Check out the full interview above.