A throng of law enforcement officers turned out to a New York City rally on Thursday to support controversial NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, wearing “#ImWithKap” T-shirts and sharing remarks that blamed Kaepernick’s unemployment on racism.
The event, which was organized in part by NYPD Sgt. Edwin Raymond and attended by City Council member Jumaane Williams and about 75 NYPD officers, saw attendees raise their fists and take a knee in a synchronized manner as a show of solidarity with Kaepernick, the New York Daily News reported.
“What Colin Kaepernick did is try to bring awareness that this nation unfortunately has ignored for far too long,” Raymond said. “And that’s the issue of racism in America and policing in America. We decided to gather here today because of the way he’s being railroaded for speaking the obvious truth.”
Other speakers agreed that Kaepernick – who remains unsigned after opting out of his contract with the 49ers and vowing that he would stand for the anthem this year – is the victim of discrimination due to his political beliefs, not his skill as a quarterback.
“The fact that this man is no longer in the NFL has nothing to do with stats on the football field, but for taking a knee and pointing out some of the flaws that have been tormenting people of color in this country for decades,” said Darius Gordon of the Justice league NYC.
NYPD whistleblower Frank Serpico, who was the subject of the film “Serpico” thanks to his lauded campaign against police corruption in the 1960s and 1970s, also attended the rally to back Kaepernick.
“I am here to support anyone who has the courage to stand up against injustice and oppression anywhere in this country and the world,” the 81-year-old detective said.
Multiple groups have encouraged fans to boycott the NFL if Kaepernick remains unemployed for much longer, with online petitions calling for a #blackout of pro football, a refusal to purchase NFL merchandise, and even an end to fantasy football.