Colin Kaepernick: LeBron James speaks out, says QB is being blackballed

By Alex Butler  |  Nov. 20, 2017 at 6:01 PM
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Nov. 20 (UPI) -- LeBron James thinks Colin Kaepernick is getting "a wrong doing" from the National Football League. The Cleveland Cavaliers superstar spoke to ESPN Sunday, lending his opinion on the subject of the free agent quarterback who can't find a team to play for in 2017.

"I love football, but I'm not part of the NFL," James told ESPN. "I don't represent the NFL. I don't know their rules and regulations. But I do know Kap is getting a wrong doing. I do know that. Just watching, he's an NFL player. He's an NFL player and you see all these other quarterbacks out there and players out there that get all these second and third chances that are nowhere near as talented as him. It just feels like he's been blackballed out of the NFL. So, I definitely do not respect that."

Kaepernick, 30, hasn't taken a snap since the 2016 season with the San Francisco 49ers. The former second round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft owns a 28-30 career record as a starting quarterback. He has posted a career quarterback rating of 88.9 in 69 appearances. Kaepernick completed 59.2 percent of his passes for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions in 11 games last season.

But he elevated to national prominence for taking a knee in protest of racial inequality and police brutality before the national anthem played at his games. That practice has since been carried on by a large portion of his former NFL colleagues.

"The only reason I could say he's not on a team is because the way he took a knee," James said. "That's the only reason. I watch football every Sunday, every Thursday, every Monday night. I see all these quarterbacks -- first-string, second-team, third-team quarterbacks -- that play sometimes when the starter gets hurt or are starters that play. Kap is better than a lot of those guys. Let's just be honest."

Kaepernick opted out of the final year of his contract in March. Since then, dozens of quarterbacks have been signed, some of them are now starting.

James posted a photo of the GQ cover last week on his Instagram account. That cover featured Kaepernick, as he was named the magazine's Citizen of the Year.

🙏🏾✊🏾👑!!!!!!!!!

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

James also spoke about Kaepernick at Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 Media Day.

"I'm all in favor of anyone athlete or non-athlete being able to express what they believe in in a peaceful manner and that's exactly what Colin Kaepernick is doing and I respect that," James told reporters.

"I think you guys know when I'm passionate about something I'll speak up on it, so me standing for the national anthem is something I will do, that's who I am, that's what I believe in. But that doesn't mean I don't respect and don't agree with what Colin Kaepernick is doing. You have the right to voice your opinion, stand for your opinion and he's doing it in the most peaceful way I've ever seen someone do something."

"I don't have the answer. None of us have the answer, but the more times we can talk about it, the more times we can conversate about it. Because I'm not up here saying all police are bad because they're not. I'm not up here saying that all kids are great and all adults are great, because they're not. But at the same time all lives do matter. It's not black or white, it's not that. It's everyone, so, it's just tough being a parent right now when you have a pre-teen."

Kaepernick's 90.7 quarterback rating in 2016 was better than 18 current NFL starters and is the same as the rating posted so far this season by Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.

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