Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is one of the many professional athletes throwing their support behind embattled quarterback Colin Kaepernick as he took the field for a highly publicized workout in Atlanta in front of NFL brass.
James tweeted out a message for Kaepernick just prior to his workout.
“Best of luck to [Colin Kaepernick] in his workout today!” LeBron wrote. “Pulling for you over here Young??!!! Regardless the outcome you’re SPECIAL and I thank you for being TRUE!”
It’s not the first time James has publicly shown his support for Kaepernick. Earlier this year he made a firm stance that he was firmly behind the message of the former 49ers QB.
“I stand with Kap, I kneel with Kap,” James told the Los Angeles Times earlier this year. “I just feel what he was talking about no one wanted to listen to. Nobody ever really wanted to understand where he was actually coming from.”
Colin Kaepernick Moves Workout, Drawing Ire of NFL
Kaepernick was previously scheduled to take the field at the Atlanta Falcons training facility for his NFL-organized workout. However, after a disagreement about media and cameras being allowed into the workout, the quarterback and his representatives decided to move the workout to a local-area high school in Atlanta for “transparency.”
“From the outset, Mr. Kaepernick requested a legitimate process and from the outset the NFL league office has not provided one,” Kaepernick’s attorney Ben Meiselas and agent Jeff Nalley said in a statement “Most recently, the NFL has demanded that as a precondition to the workout, Mr. Kaepernick sign an unusual liability waiver that addresses employment-related issues and rejected the standard liability waiver from physical injury proposed by Mr. Kaepernick’s representatives.
“… Mr. Kaepernick simply asks for a transparent and open process which is why a new location has been selected for today.”
The NFL issued a statement following the move, expressing their disappointment.
“We are disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout. He informed us of that decision at 2:30 p.m. today along with the public.
“Today’s session was designed to give Colin what he has consistently said he wants — an opportunity to show his football readiness and desire to return to the NFL. Twenty-five (25) clubs were present for the workout, and all 32 clubs, their head coaches, general managers, and other personnel executives would have received video footage of the interview and workout, shot by the Atlanta Falcons video crew.”
The workout was live-streamed and it appears Kaepernick’s representatives got what they wanted out of the session in terms of transparency.
History of Colin Kaepernick’s Protests, NFL Career
Kaepernick recorded 58 starts during his six-year stint with the 49ers, collecting 12,271 yards, 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in his career. His last snap under center came in a 25-23 loss to Seattle on Jan. 1, 2017.
He opted out of his contract with the 49ers following the season, but was not signed as a free agent. He has struggled to get interest from NFL teams since and settled a collusion lawsuit with the league earlier this year that alleged he was being blackballed by the owners.
At the start of the 2016 season, Kaepernick began the protests against police violence and systemic racism by first sitting and then kneeling during the national anthem.
The decision to go from sitting to kneeling came after the QB had a conversation with Nate Boyer, a former Seahawks player and Green Beret.
“We sorta came to a middle ground where he would take a knee alongside his teammates,” Boyer said during a segment on HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel. “Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, you know, to show respect. When we’re on a patrol, you know, and we go into a security halt, we take a knee, and we pull security.”
“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 said following his initial protest. “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.”