Some Americans playing in the Canadian Football League (CFL) are rallying around Colin Kaepernick and Nike’s ad campaign featuring the former NFL player.
The sportswear company’s “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” slogan underneath Kaepernick’s image is based on the football player’s refusal to stand when the national anthem is played — a protest that Kaepernick and his supporters contend is aimed at police brutality against blacks.
American players for the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks told the Ottawa Sun that they support Kaepernick and described the United States in stark, racist terms.
Defensive end Jonathan Newsome told the Sun, “My only hope is to get permanent residence and move to Canada,” he said. “It’s definitely better. Compared to America, this is like heaven. I don’t see (the racism). People are polite, they’re cool. They don’t feel the need to have to express their negative opinions all the time.”
He added that Nike’s campaign is “admirable and courageous. I hope it’s going to help.”
Redblacks defensive back Sherrie Baltimore called Kaepernick “an icon” who is teaching America about police brutality.
“Colin Kaepernick is an icon, they’ll be talking about him in 30 years in elementary schools,” Baltimore said. “It’s about equality. There’s a lot of white vs. black in the U.S. It’s not about America or the Star Spangled Banner or any of that – police brutality to black people, that’s why [Kaepernick is] taking a knee.”
Ottawa Linebacker Kevin Brown applauded Nike because the company will “ruffle some feathers” with Kaepernick’s image.
“Any time a big corporation like that can shed light on an issue that’s having such an impact in the United States, it brings it back to the forefront rather than just a couple of hashtags on Twitter. It ruffles some feathers and gets the word back out there that injustice is still alive and well.”
Players from the Edmonton Eskimos also weighed in last week on Kaepernick and Nike.