Wright: Kaepernick Helped Open People's Eyes

The NFL admitted it was wrong for trying to silence peaceful protests, but it must make amends with Colin Kaepernick

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
June 11, 2020 - 10:01 am

USA Today Images


When Roger Goodell admitted that the NFL was wrong for trying to silence peaceful protests, SiriusXM NFL host Cole Wright, who is bi-racial, was happy.

“One thing that you always [look for with] leaders is ownership and accountability,” Wright said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “If you make a mistake, you don’t place blame somewhere else. You own that. You find yourself accountable for that. I think that’s the first step in change. I don’t know what the sentiment is from the owners right now, but when the guy that is pretty much the representative of the league – he is essentially a representative for the owners, he is that face for them, he is that mouthpiece – I just think that that is a step in the right direction. When someone can admit that they were wrong, I think that’s the first step in change.”

For some players, however, that step was not big enough. Malcolm Jenkins, for example, said the NFL will not be on the right side of history until it makes amends with Colin Kaepernick.

“I think that’s true,” Wright said. “Colin Kaepernick was the face of what we’re seeing right now. He wanted there to be an awakening to police brutality in the African American community. You had different outlets that would package it one way; you had other outlets that would package it another way. But at the end of the day, it was a peaceful protest. He did want to open a lot of people’s eyes to that. Whether that was a catalyst for change or not, I think now that eyes are open, I think people realize that what he was doing, as instructed by Nate Boyer, [was right].”

Boyer, of course, met with Kaepernick in 2016 to discuss his protest. A U.S. Army Green Beret, Boyer encouraged Kaepernick to kneel, not sit, during the anthem, as kneeling is not disrespectful.

Kaepernick modified his protest. Nevertheless, he was vilified.

“I don’t think that people have really had enough – I don’t know if it’s time; I don’t know if it’s just the way people were brought up. They feel certain ways about that,” Wright said of kneeling during the anthem. “But it’s not a disrespectful showing, especially when what he’s trying to do is make sure that everybody is respected in our country, especially by law enforcement. That's something we haven’t seen as much and something that we need to see a whole bunch more of.”

On a personal note, Wright’s father was born in Mississippi in 1944. In some ways, his father has seen a lot of change in his life; in other ways, not so much.

“I understand how things have changed, yet still somewhat stayed the same in the United States of America,” Wright said. “Martin Luther King gave his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech on my dad’s 19th birthday. So for my dad to sit there and listen to that, of course he thought that change was coming. He knew that things would be different. But I don’t ever think he thought it would get back to this. To see that, not only does it hurt me a little bit inside, but I just never thought I’d have that conversation with my dad. He never really spoke about it a whole bunch. I think that’s because he’s very open-minded. He always taught me to pretty much be cool with everybody. It’s easier to be cool than not. . . . It’s kind of sad that we have to have these conversations in 2020 when I feel like we should be having the complete opposite conversations.”