Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks says many more NFL players would have joined Colin Kaepernick in kneeling for the national anthem, but they worried about losing their jobs.
Hicks said he believes the majority of players who stood for the anthem were thinking that if they didn’t, it would end their careers. And he was one of them.
“At that time when Kaepernick was taking a knee, I had the same thought that 85, 90% of the league thought at that moment: ‘If I get down on one knee in front of this stadium, I am fired,’” Hicks said, via the Chicago Tribune. “’My job, my career, my life is over. I will be blackballed.’ And then to come out on the other end and watch it actually happen to Kaepernick, it just tells me my feelings were real. It was the reality, and hopefully it won’t be going forward.”
After NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pledged on Friday to support players’ protests, that mindset among players may change. As it should.