Dolphins running back Arian Foster has never been shy about voicing his own opinions, willing if not eager to touch third-rail topics such as race and religion.
So it’s no surprise he has thoughts about 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to not stand for the National Anthem.
Via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, Foster said he wasn’t sure he agreed with Kaepernick’s execution, but he understood the underlying message.
“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.”
“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.”
Kaepernick’s criticism of the police is central to his protest, and Foster recounted his fear at being pulled over when he was a teenager. And Foster was quick to admit that “Racism is still alive” in the United States. He believes that, in part, because of the number of times he’s been told to leave the country.
“What do you mean? Where can I go?,” Foster began. “African Americans are the only people in America who don’t have a heritage, because of slavery. We’re descendants of genocide, and people don’t like to talk about that. It’s the truth. We’re the descendants of genocide. So when you say, ‘You can leave,’ where to? I don’t know where my people come from. Am I from the Congo? Am I from Kenya? Am I from the Ivory Coast?
“I have no idea where my lineage comes from, and that is a huge issue as to why there’s a self-identity crisis in our neighborhoods. We’re taught to hate ourselves for generations. And people are just quick to say, ‘Get over it. Get over it. Slavery happened a long time ago.’ I grew up in a domestically violent household. There are effects that I grew up with and had to deal with emotional issues growing up with domestic violence in my house. That’s one generation removed. Now here’s 300 years of slavery, you’ve seen your people get people, have them told you aren’t anything. Written in laws that they’re three-fifths a human being for 300 years. You’re telling me there’s no psychological effects that won’t trickle down in your bloodline? Of course there are. Until this country addresses is, this will happen.”
Because of that, Foster said he respects Kaepernick’s decision to make his feelings known. Foster will continue to stand, and do other things in his community. But because of his own background, he’s not willing to stand quietly.