The San Francisco 49ers — the NFL franchise that infamously helped push Colin Kaepernick out of the league — posted in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and used the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday in a tweet on Tuesday.
Folks were obviously pretty quick to point out the hypocrisy.
Kaepernick, when he was in the NFL, started a high-profile peaceful protest against police brutality and the oppression of black people in America. He took a knee during the national anthem, which enraged certain subsets of Americans — most notably the president of the United States.
Now the nation is embroiled in massive, widespread anti-racism protests after police in Minneapolis killed George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by kneeling on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. Blackout Tuesday, an initiative started by the music industry, involved people posting black squares on social media. The initiative immediately led to controversy over whether it was really useful. (Mashable has a guide here on how you can make an actually help, if you choose to participate.)
Kaepernick hasn’t been signed to an NFL team since 2017 despite, by all objective and statistical measures, being more than good enough to earn a job.
And while the QB technically opted out of his 49ers contract back in 2017, the organization has flatly admitted they made it clear to Kaepernick they intended to cut him. Since then, he hasn’t been afforded any real chance at rejoining the league, leading to the widespread belief that he’s been blackballed by the NFL.
This doesn’t mean a thing without taking responsibility and accountability for the mistreatment of Black people within your organization https://t.co/5PW3V8mOn3
— Master (@MasterTes) June 2, 2020
San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York has claimed the franchise didn’t encourage other teams to steer clear of Kaepernick.
“We had no negative conversations with other teams saying, ‘Don’t sign Colin,'” York said on Freakonomics Radio’s The Hidden Side of Sports in 2018. “We wouldn’t do that with Colin. We wouldn’t do that with anybody.”
Lots of folks aren’t buying the 49ers’ public comments, though.
Eric Reid, Kaepernick’s former teammate who kneeled alongside him, wrote on Twitter: “I think you meant Blackball Tuesday…I digress.” Reid is currently a free agent.