Sharpton spoke at George Floyd's funeral on Tuesday, and implored the National Football League to put Colin Kaepernick back in the game. Kaepernick played for the San Francisco 49ers for six seasons and is a political activist, known for kneeling for the national anthem during games in protest of police brutality and racial inequality in the United States. Kaepernick left the 49ers in 2017 and is currently a free agent.
Sharpton called attention to the athlete's efforts to draw awareness to systemic racism in America, while also asking the NFL to do better.
"The head of the NFL said, 'Yeah, maybe we was wrong. Football players, maybe they did have the right to peacefully protest,'" he told the congregation at Floyd's funeral. “Well, don’t apologize. Give Colin Kaepernick a job back. Don’t come with some empty apology. Take a man’s livelihood. Strip a man down of his talents. And four years later, when the whole world is marching, all of a sudden you go and do a FaceTime, talk about you sorry. Minimizing the value of our lives. You sorry?"
Sharpton declared, "Then repay the damage you did to the career you stood down, ’cause when Colin took a knee, he took it for the families in this building. And we don’t want an apology. We want him repaired."
The reverend's comments come after Goodell released a video message condemning racism and vowing that the NFL was wrong in how they handled the peaceful protests during national anthems at games.
"We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people," he said. "We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter."
"Without black players, there would be no National Football League. And the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff. We are listening," Goodell continued. "I am listening. And I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve and go forward for a better and more united NFL family."
We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter. #InspireChangepic.twitter.com/ENWQP8A0sv
Another emotional moment at Floyd's funeral was when Sharpton asked for the family members of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Botham Jean, Pamela Turner, Michael Brown and Ahmaud Arbery, who were in the congregation, to stand up.
"They know better than anyone else the pain they will suffer," Sharpton said.
In powerful moment, Rev. Al Sharpton asks the families of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Botham Jean, Pamela Turner, Michael Brown and Ahmaud Arbery to stand at George Floyd's funeral: "They know better than anyone else the pain they will suffer.” https://t.co/PeN6Eke5X4pic.twitter.com/yr4Mc3fIEQ