Colin Kaepernick Supporters Hold Rally Outside NFL Headquarters in New York

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2017

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Activists held a "United We Stand" rally outside the NFL's headquarters in New York City on Wednesday in support of free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick.Β 

ESPN's Coley Harvey and Josina Anderson provided a look at the crowd:

Coley Harvey @ColeyHarvey

Large crowd at Colin Kaepernick rally, which begins w James Weldon Johnson's "Lift Every Voice and Sing," known as the Black National Anthem https://t.co/sqYJkc5if3

ig: josinaanderson @JosinaAnderson

More people. #KaepRally https://t.co/fmz6a1D9SO

According to The Undefeated's Jason Reid, estimates had the size of the crowd at 1,200 people.

The NAACP was among the groups attending the rally and wore special T-shirts dedicated to Kaepernick, which the MMQB's Tim Rohan shared below:

Tim Rohan @TimRohan

Here are the t-shirts that NAACP groups will be weaing at today's Colin Kaepernick rally outside NFL headquarters in NYC https://t.co/BKJugqGrxq

The NAACP elaborated on Twitter its aim was to highlight the issues to which Kaepernick had drawn attention:


We demand that the NFL protect the rights of their players who speak out on injustice #UnitedWeStand


Even Colin Kaepernick will tell you that it's not just about Colin Kaepernick. We're here standing for justice for all. #UnitedWeStand

Prior to the rally, the NAACP wrote a letter asking to meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about opening a dialogue regarding Kaepernick and players' exercising their First Amendment rights, per the New York Times' Malika Andrews:

Malika Andrews @malika_andrews

The @NAACP has requested to meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to talk about players' first amendment rights. https://t.co/Ze7HTVKZui

The event comes days after members of the New York Police Department assembled in Brooklyn, New York, wearing shirts with the slogan "#ImWithKap."

"What Colin Kaepernick did is try to bring awareness that this nation unfortunately has ignored for far too long," NYPD Sgt. Edwin Raymond said, per the New York Daily News' Dale E. Eisinger and Larry McShane. "And that's the issue of racism in America and policing in America. We decided to gather here today because of the way he's being railroaded for speaking the obvious truth."

When he began his national anthem protest last year, Kaepernick told NFL Network's Steve Wyche he didn't want to "show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."

"To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way," Kaepernick said. "There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

More NFL players followed Kaepernick's lead, either taking a knee or raising a fist to show solidarity with the 29-year-old passer. Kaepernick, however, remains unsigned after opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in March.

Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman is among those who believe NFL owners have effectively frozen Kaepernick out of the league:

mike freeman @mikefreemanNFL

The league has effectively banned Kaepernick for his social activism. But it's on him to prove he wants to play? That makes no damn sense.

mike freeman @mikefreemanNFL

Then, if Kaepernick apologized, you know what teams would leak? "I'd have more respect for him if he didn't apologize. He looks weak now."

Kaepernick met with the Seattle Seahawks in May, but the Seahawks chose to go in a different direction. The Baltimore Ravens also considered adding him before deciding against the move.