Matthew Stafford's Wife Kelly Says She Was Wrong to Criticize Colin Kaepernick

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 16, 2020

FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2015, file photo, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and his wife Kelly smile while watching the Detroit Pistons play the Cleveland Cavaliers during an NBA basketball game, in Auburn Hills, Mich. Matthew is juggling his job on the field and his role as a husband and father as his wife, Kelly, recovers from surgery to remove a brain tumor. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson, File)
Duane Burleson/Associated Press

Kelly Stafford, who is married to Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, published an Instagram post apologizing for criticizing ex-San Francisco 49ers signal-caller Colin Kaepernick for kneeling as a form of protest against systemic racism, social injustice and police brutality during the national anthem.

"When Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem, I had strong feelings about it," Kelly Stafford wrote. "Even when he kept saying it had nothing to do with the flag or military, I didn’t listen. I kept not listening to him or anyone else and let the political rhetoric persuade me that him kneeling was disrespectful to our military.

"Over the past several months, I have opened my ears, mind, and heart and it has opened my eyes to see how wrong I was and for that I am sorry."

In 2017, she implored people to stand for the anthem in an Instagram post, which said the following in part:

"... I believe we can stand and show our unity against everything that doesn't represent what this flag stands for. Let's stand united against terrorists, against racism, against white supremacists, against killing of cops, against police brutality, against sex slave trafficking.. against anything that is not the ideal for this country.
Let's unite in the fact that God made us all unique and different and that is something we should cherish."

In Saturday's post, Stafford concluded:

"This systematic racism is not going away unless we ALL work on it by working on ourselves and those around us. It’s time for everyone to do their part to help end this system.

"Matthew and I thought this was a good place to start. We are proud to be a part of this program and we will keep fighting to help end this social injustice. Black Lives Matter."

As Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press noted, Kelly and Matthew Stafford recently donated $350,000 to their alma mater, the University of Georgia, to fund a social justice program for student-athletes.

Kaepernick has been out of the NFL since 2016, the year when he began his protests. Other athletes have since followed suit, to the point where anthem protests have become commonplace during NBA games amid their current restart in Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida.

Kneeling has also taken place during protests around the country and world in the fight for social justice.

The 49ers parted ways with Kaepernick after a year which saw the ex-Nevada star account for 18 touchdowns (16 passing, two rushing) versus just four interceptions. Over six seasons in the league, he completed 59.8 percent of his passes for 72 touchdowns and 30 picks in addition to 2,300 rushing yards and 13 more scores on the ground.