Supporters of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick are demanding he be signed by a team before the National Football League season starts next month. ESPN reports that thousands gathered outside the NFL's New York City headquarters on Wednesday to show their support for the free agent, who once played in the Super Bowl but opted out of his contract and hasn't been signed. Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem before games as a protest of police brutality targeting blacks. His supporters say he's being blackballed, per the AP; but critics point to his playing ability as the reason, while others say he should have stood for the anthem.
The NAACP sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday, saying it's "no sheer coincidence" Kaepernick is unsigned. The civil rights organization has noted it wants a meeting with the NFL to discuss the situation. Derrick Johnson, the NAACP's interim president and CEO, says "no player should be victimized and discriminated against because of his exercise of free speech." Meanwhile, the Rev. Jamal Bryant says the league doesn't mind if black players get concussions, but "they just got a problem if black players get a conscience." Goodell has insisted the league isn't blackballing Kaepernick. (Read more Colin Kaepernick stories.)