Takeo Spikes says Colin Kaepernick gave up a chance to be an NFL quarterback to stand up for what he felt was right and started a movement. For that, Spikes believes the Smithsonian should install a statue of his former teammate.
Spikes, a 15-year NFL veteran, played with Kaepernick in San Fransisco for two seasons in 2011-2012. He told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Monte Poole that Kaepernick’s sacrifice has only been amplified over time.
“The reason why I say this is because this man put everything on the line. … You hear the term ‘You can become a slave to the money.’ But Colin, could have easily done that. But I applaud him simply because he decided to take a stand. He decided to draw a line in the sand and say look, ‘I can make the money, I can live a carefree life for the most part and get paid handsomely and never say a thing because I’m not affected.’ But he took time to look back and really just see the big picture, the spectrum when we talk about the inequalities.
“He decided to not only call it out, but take a stand for it.”
Team officials forced him off the team after he began to kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality. He said learned to do so from former Green Beret Nate Boyer who told him soldiers would kneel to honor fallen brethren.
People Still Argue Over Colin Kaepernick’s Legacy
Colin Kaepernick spent six seasons in the NFL. He took the 49ers to the 2012 Super Bowl but struggled in later seasons. After he began to kneel during the national anthem, however, people began to boo the starter. Fans boycotted games and people began to question his motives. A 2016 poll found he was the most disliked player in the league. But Kaepernick continued to kneel despite the backlash.
The team forced him to opt-out of his contract in 2017, and he has not played a single down in the NFL since. He claimed the league was blackballing him and sued. He settled with the NFL in 2019 for more than $10 million, The New York Times reported.
But even out of the league, he’s remained a mainstay in discussions of race. After the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor last year sparked protests worldwide, many pointed out that Kaepernick had discussed these problems years earlier. And his actions inspired many other players in a number of different sports and leagues to kneel during the anthem as well.
Netflix is making a miniseries about his life, though no release date has been announced.
But despite all of the good press, public opinion is split over the former quarterback. In a 2020 poll, 24 percent of people said they had a very favorable attitude toward Kaepernick. But 23 percent had a very unfavorable view of him.