The legacy of political protest in sports Video

Transcript for The legacy of political protest in sports

Reporter: For Colin Kaepernick, it began a year ago, hoping to send a message. There’s a lot of things that need to change. One specifically and police brutality. This conversation started around one quarterback in San Francisco who decided to use his platform to try to draw attention to criminal justice reform, police brutality, and innocent people dying at the hands of police officers. Reporter: This weekend, he saw his message and his means of conveying it, command the attention of the nation. Even Stevie wonder, life-long entertainer and activist, during a concert in New York’s central park. Tonight I’m taking a knee for America. But not just one knee. I’m taking both knees. Both knees in prayer for our planet, our future, our leaders of the world, and our globe. Reporter: Unsigned by any NFL team for the 2017 season, Kaepernick could not be found on the field where he said he wants to be, where NFL analysts and players have said he deserves to be. Do I think Kaepernick is better than some of these starting quarterbacks in this league? Absolutely. Should he be on a roster, in my opinion? Absolutely. Reporter: Instead, he could be found here, in cyberspace, retweeting images of players and others who support him, including military widows, as if in response to reaction he told the undefeated that he anticipated. You’re going to have that backlash for trying to fight for people. And that was something I was fully prepared for. Without question, he’s not in the league because of the protest, because of the knee. The fact is, Colin Kaepernick is the face of this protest in the NFL. Reporter: 70 years ago, this was the face of change and of social activism in sports, when Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color line in 1947, with the Brooklyn dodgers. As he told dick Cabot on ABC in 1972. The whole sitpation in breaking the barrier was done simply because we had a purpose in mind to go out and win. Then you move into a town like Brooklyn and it was just fantastic the way the fans responded and reacted. A great bunch of people. Reporter: His heroism made him a revered American. A true lead in the area of race. At the 1968 summer olympics, this would be one of the golfinizing images of its time. Tommy Smith and John Carlos raising gloved fists. Kareem abdul-jabbar, a presidential medal of freedom recipient in 2016, would boycott those games in 1968. As he told NBC sports — The voting rights act…

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