New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley will not let the fear of public backlash prevent him from having his voice be heard.
"I'm not afraid to speak my mind," Barkley told the New York Daily News' Pat Leonard on Monday.
He added, "If a fan wants to not be a fan of me because I retweet a thing for Colin Kaepernick, I don't care. But I respect that people have their own opinions. Everyone is entitled to that. I just would hope that people respect I have a right to my own opinion, as well."
Last week, Barkley showed his support for Kaepernick by retweeting an NFL on ESPN post that featured a video of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback:
Kaepernick is viewed as the leader of the protest against social injustice in the sports world, as he was the first athlete to sit/kneel during the national anthem. He has not been on an NFL roster since March 2017.
Barkley, 22, understands that standing behind the controversial Kaepernick could rub some people the wrong way. However, he also realizes that he is in a position where he can use his voice, via Leonard:
"It's not like 'cause I'm in year two I'm willing to be more vocal about a situation. No. I've always been vocal and understand I have a platform. But hey, if I retweet a video of Colin Kaepernick working out and staying ready for the NFL and people dislike that, so be it."
Of note, Barkley played in a charity football game with Kaepernick back in March. He told Fox 5 (h/t Leonard) afterward that he was a "big fan" of the ex-49ers star, noting that he respected "everything that he did." The two had the opportunity to talk during the event, with Kaepernick offering Barkley advice for both football and life away from the game.
Barkley has also used social media to share posts on non-Kaepernick-related topics. Whether it be on the field (Ezekiel Elliott's holdout) or off it (calling out President Donald Trump), he has been active with his retweets.
If he loses fans because he doesn't "stick to sports," that's just fine with him.