The negative reaction from some fellow athletes (most of them white) to the decision by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's to protest the national anthem continues to pour in, with many criticizing him for his supposed lack of patriotism.
On Monday, ESPN host Stan Verrett gave a stirring response to these critics, discussing his own family's struggle with being black in America.
"These are real problems. People aren’t just making this up, and they’re trying to find ways to speak out about it," he said.
Here's the transcript, via SBNation:
Look, I’ve always stood for the anthem — because I believe in the promise of America, what the flag is supposed to symbolize. Even though America often falls short of what it’s supposed to symbolize. My dad served in the army, and dealt with discrimination in the army — came back from his service in World War II and was not afforded the full rights as a U.S. citizen after his service. So don’t talk to me about sacrifice and the military, because he went there. My mom was the valedictorian of her high school, couldn’t go to college in Louisiana mainstream universities because they were segregated. They didn’t want to hear about her grades — you can’t go because you’re black.
There’s still problems today: Discriminatory lending, housing, hiring, pay, the justice system. These are real problems. People aren’t just making this up, and they’re trying to find ways to speak out about it — and you’re not always going to agree with the method, but let’s pay as much attention to the substance as we do to the symbol.
Kaepernick has also received support from Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and running back Arian Foster, among others. A report from Jay Glazer suggests the 49ers are contemplating cutting Kaepernick for "football" reasons, not his stance.
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.