Serena Williams praises Kaepernick for seeking ‘the greater good’ in anthem protests
© Getty Images

Tennis star Serena Williams says she respects the work former NFL star Colin Kaepernick has done by leading the way for athlete protests.

“I think every athlete, every human and definitely every African-American should be completely grateful and honored,” she told The Associated Press.

Kaepernick and Eric Reid, both former San Francisco 49ers who used public attention on games to make symbolic protests, attended the U.S. Open where Williams played on Friday night.


Williams, who greeted them after the game, said “Colin and Eric are doing so much more for the greater good.”

“They really use their platform in ways that is really unfathomable,” she said, according to the AP. “I feel like they obviously have great respect from a lot of their peers, especially other athletes, people that really are looking for social change.”

Kaepernick triggered then-presidential candidate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day MORE’s and conservatives’ ire when in 2016 he began kneeling or sitting during the national anthem at games. Kaepernick said he was raising awareness for social justice issues such as racial inequality and police brutality.

“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 August 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.”

Trump made criticizing Kaepernick a mainstay of his campaign, and since becoming president has berated the NFL for allowing players to protest during the anthem.

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He is fired,'" Trump said last September.

Kaepernick and Reid are both in arbitration with the NFL. They allege teams colluded to not sign them following their protests.