Kaepernick anthem protest prompts backlash from NFL greats

Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:41pm EDT
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By Amy Tennery

NEW YORK (Reuters) - San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's sideline protest during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a National Football League pre-season game last week has generated criticism from current and former NFL stars.

Kaepernick, 28, sat during the national anthem on Friday in a protest against racial injustice in the United States, a move that prompted boos from some fans.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward wrote in an Instagram post Tuesday that while he can "respect" Kaepernick's cause, he doesn't "agree with the method he chose."

"If you want to make a point or take a stand, go straight after the root of that cause," wrote Ward. "Don't disrespect the whole country or the organization that's paying you millions of dollars."

Jerry Rice, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who won three Super Bowl championships while with the 49ers, wrote on Twitter Monday that Kaepernick should not "disrespect the flag."

"All lives matter. So much going on in this world today. Can we all just get along!" tweeted the former wide receiver and 20-year veteran of the league, adding that he respects Kaepernick's "stance."

New Orleans' Saints quarterback Drew Brees tweeted Monday, "I agree with his protest, I DON'T agree w his METHOD."

Rodney Harrison, a former safety for the San Diego Chargers and the New England Patriots, said on a Houston sports talk radio show Tuesday Kaepernick is "not black" and cannot understand the prejudice that black men face.   Continued...

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick stands on the field before their NFL pre-season football game against the Denver Broncos in San Francisco, California, U.S. August 8, 2013. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo