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Seahawks’ Richard Sherman agrees with message, not method, of Colin Kaepernick’s protest

RENTON – Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman agrees with the point that 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was trying to make with his national anthem protest, but not the way he tried to make it.

As many prominent sports figures – and even presidential candidate Donald Trump – already have, Sherman took his turn Monday weighing in on Kaepernick’s decision to not stand Friday night for the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” before San Francisco’s preseason game against Green Bay. Kaepernick told NFL.com afterward that it was in protest of systemic oppression of African Americans and minorities in America.

Asked about Kaepernick’s protest, Sherman first called it “interesting” before explaining how he sees both sides of what has become a national debate. He said “you can’t ever stand against the flag” and noted that “a lot of people have sacrificed and things like that for it.” But he believes Kaepernick was trying to send a message that needs to be sent.

“There is also a deeper meaning to what he did,” Sherman said of Kaepernick, his one-time archrival. “He’s talking about the oppression of African Americans in this country. That has been going on for a long time. I think a lot of the focus has shifted away from his message and shifted – to some people, rightfully so – to him taking a stand against the nation … But I think there’s also things in this nation that people need to remember and take heed of and also acknowledge. This country is the same country that had ‘Whites’ and ‘Colored’ signs on the bathroom. We’re still in that country, we’re still in that nation, and that needs to be acknowledged and that needs to be changed. There’s people with that mentality that still exist, and that needs to change.”

Sherman went on to note other past and present examples of mistreatment against African Americans, including racial profiling and how, during the Civil Rights Movement, there “were people getting hosed down in the street and dogs sicked on them for standing for what they believe in.”

“So there is some depth and some truth in what he was doing,” Sherman said of Kaepernick. “I think he could have picked a better platform and a better way to do it.”

Sherman also noted a reality about professional athletes, which is they are constantly implored to speak up about weighty societal issues then are often told to shut up when they do.

“Every day they say athletes are so robotic and do everything by the book,” Sherman said, “and then when somebody takes a stand like that, he gets his head chopped off.”