Every NFL fan is almost certainly familiar with the name Charles Woodson. The all-pro cornerback played 18 seasons and is almost guaranteed a spot in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. After hanging up the shoulder pads, Woodson has joined the crew on ESPN’s football pre-game show, Sunday NFL Countdown.
With the first full day of games in the NFL season falling on September 11 this year, the protest begun by San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is refusing to stand for the national anthem, was one of the topics of conversation on ESPN’s show. Woodson decided to use his new soapbox to explain to the audience why he supports Kaepernick, and he did so brilliantly.
Woodson gets into his remarks about Kaepernick by talking about his thoughts and feelings when he learned what had happened on September 11, 2001. He describes how he thought about Americans being attacked for our way of life. Then he explains how he connected those thoughts to Kaepernick’s protest.
“I think his (Kaepernick’s) question is, ‘How is it that black people could be treated a certain way because of how they look? The color of their skin, or how dark it is, or how dark it isn’t.’ And so, I understand his point.”
After remarking about the thrill he used to get while standing on the sideline as the anthem was played, Woodson explains how he started looking at things he hadn’t paid attention to before, thanks to Kaepernick.
“Then you go back and you look at the author of the national anthem. This guy — he had slaves! You know, you look at Francis Scott Key, he was a slave owner. So now, as I’m thinking about the national anthem, and I hear that line ‘Land of the free’ — he wasn’t talking about me.”
The retired star spoke eloquently about the issue from start to finish, but he said one thing in particular that needs to be shared as much as possible:
“If I was in the military, and I looked over there and see this young man protesting — in peace, I would actually feel proud as a military man, woman, that the freedom that I go across these waters to fight for — that’s it, right there, exercised.”
Here are Woodson’s powerful thoughts on Colin Kaepernick’s protest, via Shaun King:
Featured image via ESPN screen capture