Famed U.S. women’s soccer player Megan Rapinoe used her Glamour Women of the Year acceptance speech to praise former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Without first naming Kaepernick, Rapinoe began her speech by thanking the person “I don’t feel like I would be here without,” describing this person as “someone whose courage and bravery was so bright and so bold, a person filled with conviction, unafraid of the consequences because he knew it really wasn’t about playing it safe, it was about doing what was necessary and backing down to exactly nobody,” she said, as reported by The Huffington Post.
Megan Rapinoe went on to say that Colin Kaepernick had been banned from football, arguing that it’s unfair she enjoys success in her political activism while he remains blacklisted.
“So while I’m enjoying all of this unprecedented, and frankly, a little bit uncomfortable attention and personal success in large part due to my activism off the field, Colin Kaepernick is still effectively banned,” she said.
“It would be a slap in the face to Colin and to so many other faces not to acknowledge, and for me personally to work relentlessly, to dismantle that system that benefits some over the determent of others and frankly is, quite literally, tearing us apart in this country,” she continued.
Rapinoe went on to honor other activists and movements, including Tarana Burke, the Me Too movement, Black Lives Matter, Gloria Steinem, Harvey Milk, Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland.
“I’m not gonna act like my whiteness has nothing to do with me standing before you now,” concluded Rapinoe. “This is such a pivotal moment for us. There is so much momentum, but we have to move forward and we have to be better.”
Kaepernick’s protest of the American flag helped launch the #TakeAKnee campaign, which inspired scores of social justice-minded NFL players to kneel during the national anthem due to claims of police brutality against communities of color.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in 2016. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”
After opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in 2017, Kaepernick became a free agent and has not been signed to an NFL team since — leading many to believe that he has been persecuted for his political views. This coming Saturday, however, NFL teams have been invited to attend a private workout with Colin Kaepernick, which may possibly result in him being signed back into the NFL.
Over the past few years, some people on the political Left have compared Kaepernick to such historic civil rights icons as Rosa Parks and Muhammad Ali. Sports Illustrated even went so far as to award him the “Muhammad Ali Award.”