Arian Foster is aware that racial profiling and police misconduct toward African-Americans are problems that have plagued America for decades.
Dolphins’ Arian Foster Says He Completely Understands Colin Kaepernick’s Intention
The 30-year-old Miami Dolphins running back was barely a teenager when California cops pulled over his dad driving north on Interstate 5 between San Diego and Los Angeles.
“They told us to get out of the car, all of our clothes got pulled out of the bag and then said, ‘Y’all have a good day,’ ” Foster said. “Never told us why we were pulled over. I know my rights, but there are certain things you’re taught to do as a young man that won’t get you killed. Those are the confrontations that we have with police officers on a regular basis in our communities. And that’s what Colin Kaepernick is trying to portray.”
Kaepernick, a San Francisco 49ers quarterback, became the subject of controversy after he refused to stand for the singing of the national anthem during a preseason game last week. His action of protest came before the 49ers’ loss to Green Bay at Levi’s Stadium on Friday night.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick, 28, told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Kaepernick’s criticism of the American police system has drawn both scorn and praise, and evidently, Foster appears to be on the latter side, given his own personal experiences with law enforcement.
Foster often spoke out on issues of importance to him during his time with the Houston Texans, including domestic violence and alcohol abuse. He added that, while he would not refuse to stand during the national anthem, he completely understands why the 49ers QB did so.
“I don’t necessarily see that as a solution to anything,” Foster said. “This is me talking. This is Arian talking. If that’s what he felt, that’s his form of protest, I support his right to protest. Those are his thoughts, his opinions.”
Foster continued: “I understand 100 percent what he’s doing. He’s frustrated, just like me. He’s just like my brother. He’s just like my cousins out there. He’s frustrated. It’s hard seeing people get murdered and killed without repercussions.”
Foster’s primary issue with the string of police shootings is the lack of value granted to the lives lost. Cops who fire their service weapons are rarely prosecuted or indicted. In addition, the media’s frequent reaction is to publish a mug shot of the victim along with a criminal record if the victim has one, no matter how small that record may be.
This clearly upsets Foster, and he has shown it. He spent much of Sunday engaging in debates with dissenters on Twitter, including ex-Texans teammate T.J. Yates, who voiced his disagreement with Kaepernick’s protest.
“I speak my mind,” Foster said. “I’m active in the communities. I try to educate young brothers that are in gangs and victims of what people don’t understand — this is a systemic problem that’s been going on for generations.
“If you think about it, Marvin Gaye had a great song, “Inner City Blues,” where he said ‘trigger-happy policing.’ That same sentiment is being said 40 years later. Is everybody crazy, or is something actually going on? I think that’s the dialogue that Colin Kaepernick is trying to get started. Would I not stand up for the pledge [of allegiance]? Me? No. I don’t see the correlation, in my opinion. But I understand what he’s doing. The backlash that he’s getting, that’s what I don’t understand. Sports have been used for protest for years.”
The 49ers issued a statement about Kaepernick’s decision: “The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”
San Francisco coach Chip Kelly told reporters he stands with the team’s statement, saying Kaepernick’s decision not to stand during the national anthem is “his right as a citizen” and said “it’s not my right to tell him not to do something.”
The NFL also released a statement, obtained by NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport: “Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.”
Several other prominent figures in the sports world have weighed in on Kaepernick’s form of protest, including NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, who called the QB an ‘idiot’ on Twiiter.
Likewise, 49ers legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice also gave his opinion Monday, disagreeing with Kaepernick’s stance.
“All lives matter,” Rice tweeted. “So much going on in this world today. Can we all just get along! Colin, I respect your stance but don’t disrespect the Flag.”
Kaepernick’s former head coach, Jim Harbaugh, also spoke out Monday, saying at a Michigan football news conference, “I acknowledge his right to do that, but I don’t respect the motivation or the action.”
Later, the Wolverines head coach went on Twitter to clarify his remarks.
On Tuesday, former NFL player and current NBC football analyst Rodney Harrison caused a stir with his comments on Kaepernick, who is biracial.
“I’ll tell you this, I’m a black man, and Colin Kaepernick, he’s not black,” Harrison said on Sportstalk 790 AM. “He cannot understand what I face and what other young black men and black people face, or people of color face, on a every single (day) basis. When you walk in a grocery store, and you might have $2,000 or $3,000 in your pocket and you go up in to a Foot Locker and they’re looking at you like you about to steal something. I don’t think he faces those type of things that we face on a daily basis.”
Harrison later backtracked, apologizing on Twitter, and adding he didn’t know Kaepernick was mixed-race.
“I never intended to offend anyone,” Harrison said. “I was trying to speak about my experiences as (an) African American.”
Jim Brown, a former Cleveland Browns running back and Hall of Famer, appearing on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access,” said, just as Harbaugh did, that he agrees with Kaepernick’s sentiment, though perhaps not the means.
“I listened to him and he makes all the sense in the world,” Brown said. “He’s within his rights and he’s telling the truth as he sees it. I am with him 100 percent. … Now if you ask me ‘Would I do that?’ No I won’t, because I see it a little differently. I’m an American citizen, I pay my taxes, I want my equal rights but this is my country, and consequently I don’t want to open up for ISIS or anybody that will take away what we’ve already gained.”
JACKSONVILLE, FL – OCTOBER 18: Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans rushes for yardage during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on October 18, 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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