Akiem Hicks may have given one of the most candid interviews of all-time. The Pro Bowl defensive end for the Chicago Bears met via Zoom with the media on Wednesday, and he discussed issues of racism and police brutality, as well as how he felt living life as a large, black man amidst it all.
Hicks’ candor was rare and refreshing, while also being incredibly poignant, real, and heartbreaking. A few days after the Bears spent two hours as a team in which they met and allowed their players to speak openly and candidly about race, Hicks answered questions about racism and football with an honesty few before him have.
Here are a few highlights:
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Akiem Hicks: It’s Clear Colin Kaepernick Lost His Job for Kneeling, Because ‘We Signed Mike Glennon’
Hicks didn’t hold back when discussing his feelings about former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the National Anthem in 2016 and has since been unable to find employment in the NFL. Hicks got blunter than you expect from NFL superstars. He said he knew Kaepernick lost his career due to kneeling and cited the following as evidence in a moment of pure honesty and hilarity: “we signed Mike Glennon.”
“Yeah, I said that,” Hicks joked afterwards, but he doubled down on the sentiment. “I just know that when he took a knee, he was silenced,” Hicks said about Kaep. Hicks also admitted that he worried he’d be “fired” if he knelt alongside Kaepernick in solidarity at the time, and when he saw Kaep essentially get blackballed, his fears were confirmed.
Hicks then shared some incredibly personal details about his experiences as a black man of large stature, and what he said was eye-opening.
Akiem Hicks Gets Brutally Honest About Race
“At an early age, being not just a larger kid but a larger black kid, I was seen as the antagonist in a lot of situations,” Hicks told reporters. “I was seen as the bully. I was seen as the person that — just not in the best light. Developing my mindset going forward, I understood always that I had to make other people feel comfortable for myself. I’m going to continue to do that. I’m going to continue to make sure people feel comfortable around me. Is it unfortunate that I have to live that way? Call it what you want, but I do it because that’s how I’m able to move through society and have people feel OK with me.”
It was an undeniably powerful and honest moment from a man who has become a fan favorite since his arrival in Chicago in 2016. Members of the media marveled at Hicks’ honesty after the interview, with some calling it the most honest and real interview they had ever been a part of.
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