“In fighting for liberation there‘s always retaliation,” Kaepernick tweeted Friday. “We must protect our Freedom Fighters. We started a legal defense initiative to give legal representation to Freedom Fighters in Minneapolis paid for by @yourrightscamp.”
“The Know Your Rights Camp Legal Defense Initiative has identified and teamed up with top defense lawyers in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area to provide legal resources for those in need,” the charity stated on its site. “When there is an injustice within our community, it is our legal right to address it, by any means necessary.”
Kaepernick, who played for the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to 2016, gained worldwide attention by sitting on the bench to protest social inequality and police brutality against African Americans during the playing of the national anthem before a 2016 preseason game. After discussing the protest with ex-Green Beret and collegiate long-snapper Nate Boyer, Kaepernick then began to kneel on the sideline as the anthem played before games. He hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2016 season.
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Minneapolis and across the nation over the past three days to express their frustration and anger at the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died Monday after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes as Floyd repeatedly stated that he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin, who was fired earlier in the week along with three other officers on the scene, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Floyd’s death and the ensuing protests have prompted strong reactions from the sports world, especially from former NBA player Stephen Jackson, who was close friends with Floyd. Jackson referred to Floyd, his fellow Houston native, as “my brother” and “my twin.”
Jackson spoke at a rally at the Minneapolis City Hall Rotunda on Friday afternoon along with actor Jamie Foxx. Minnesota Timberwolves players Karl-Anthony Towns and Josh Okogie were also in attendance. Jackson said he would use his platform and “everything I have to get a conviction” of the four fired officers.
“I’m here because they’re not going to demean the character of George Floyd, my twin,” Jackson said. “A lot of times, when police do things they know that’s wrong, the first thing they try to do is cover it up, and bring up their background — to make it seem like the bulls--- that they did was worthy. When was murder ever worthy? But if it’s a black man, it’s approved.
“You can’t tell me when that man had his knee on my brother’s neck — taking his life away with his hand in his pocket — that his smirk on his face didn’t say, ‘I’m protected.’ You can’t tell me that he didn’t feel that it was his duty to murder my brother, and that he knew he was going to get away with it. You can’t tell me that wasn’t the look on his face.”
Flores, one of three black head coaches in the NFL, stated that the outrage he saw in response to Kaepernick’s 2016 protests led him to “sever a few long-standing friendships.”
“I lead a group of young men who have the potential to make a real impact in this world,” Flores said. “My message to them and anyone else who wants to listen is that honesty, transparency, and empathy go a long way in bringing people together and making change. I hope that the tragedies of the last few weeks will open our hearts and minds to a better way of communicating and hopefully create that change.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Saturday released a statement on behalf of the league.