Ryan Clark, formerly a safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers and now an analyst for ESPN’s NFL Live program, appeared on the network’s popular morning television and radio show Mike and Mike on Tuesday wearing a Colin Kaepernick jersey.
Kaepernick fever has swept America in light of his decision to kneel during the national anthem to protest acts of racial injustice in the United States. More than a dozen NFL players have joined him in solidarity, along with state senators, high school football players, and even entire high school football teams.
According to the New York Daily News, Clark said on the show that he “wanted to show support for someone who I think is finally stepped out of what we want athletes to do.”
He further explained his decision in a tweet sent early this morning.
On social media, Clark has been active in discussing issues of social justice. On Monday, he referenced the recent death of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man shot by police in Tulsa.
Clark’s been vocal in his support for Kaepernick in the past, as have Stan Verrett and Scott Van Pelt, two prominent SportsCenter anchors. This is an uncommon stance for ESPN, who sent out a memo earlier this year discouraging their on-air employees from taking their political positions public. “We should refrain from political editorializing, personal attacks or ‘drive-by’ comments regarding the candidates and their campaigns,” they wrote.
When asked for comment, ESPN told Fusion that Clark was not immediately available for comment.