The NFL on Tuesday said the social justice issues raised by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick “deserve our attention and action.”
“The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding and unity,” Jocelyn Moore, the NFL's executive vice president of communications and public affairs, said in a statement. “We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities. The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action.”
The statement comes a day after Nike unveiled a new advertisement that features Kaepernick for the 30th anniversary of its iconic "Just Do It" campaign.
The advertisement features a close-up photo of Kaepernick's face accompanied by the words, "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything."
The advertisement sparked backlash from consumers, some of whom protested by destroying their Nike products.
Kaepernick has remained unsigned by an NFL team since the conclusion of the 2016 season, when he became the first player to sit, and later kneel, during the national anthem to protest social and racial injustices in the U.S.
He has since filed a grievance against the league, accusing NFL owners of colluding to keep him out of the league. An arbitrator ruled last week that his case can go to trial.
Since Kaepernick first sat during the national anthem, a number of other NFL players have either sat, kneeled, raised a fist or stayed off the field during the anthem to protest social injustices, such as police brutality against black people.
President TrumpDonald TrumpGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Super PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE has frequently lashed out at those players, saying they should be suspended or fired, in addition to suggesting that they don’t belong in the country.