NAACP Requests Meeting with Roger Goodell to Discuss Colin Kaepernick

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 23, 2017

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick passes against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL football game Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Derrick Johnson, interim president of the NAACP, has requested a meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss Colin Kaepernick and players' abilities to exercise their First Amendment rights.

Johnson requested his meeting with Goodell via a letter addressed to the commissioner at NFL headquarters in New York.

Here's a portion of what Johnson's letter to Goodell said:

"Last season, Mr. Kaepernick chose to exercise his First Amendment rights by protesting the inequitable treatment of people of color in America. By quietly taking a knee during the national anthem, he was able to shine a light on the many injustices, particularly, the disproportionate occurrences of police misconduct toward communities of color. As outlined in your office's public statement, this act of dissent is well within the National Football League's stated bylaws. Yet, as the NFL season quickly approaches, Mr. Kaepernick has spent an unprecedented amount of time as a free agent, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that this is no sheer coincidence.

"No player should be victimized and discriminated against because of his exercise of free speech—to do so is in violation of his rights under the Constitution and the NFL's own regulations."

NAACP New York State President Hazel Dukes said through the organization's official website that the NFL is placing the interests of the league ahead of social issues:

"This issue of athletes using their right to free speech to take a stand on issues has always been an important one in our community. Right now, the action of the league seems to imply to young black men that this league, which is comprised of 70 percent African Americans, only values Black lives if they are wearing a football uniform."

The letter to Goodell arrived on the same day a rally was held for Kaepernick at NFL headquarters.

Kaepernick has been a free agent since March. He spent the past six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, including last season when he began taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem as a form of silent protest for police brutality against African-Americans in the United States.

During the offseason, Kaepernick has reportedly only met with the Seattle Seahawks in May, per NFL Network's Omar Ruiz (via NFL.com's Kevin Patra). The team ultimately passed on making him a contract offer.