Akiem Hicks wonders if Colin Kaepernick can be welcomed back into NFL




 

As more and more NFL players speak up in the wake of George Floyd's killing, two things are clear: many African American players didn't feel like they could stand by Colin Kaepernick in 2016 and they plan to handle it differently this time around.

In fact, with so many players speaking up -- and enough of the NFL now sympathizing with Kaepernick's original message (and, more importantly, understanding it) -- Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks even suggested Kaepernick could be welcomed back into the league.

"I wonder if he gets a job," Hicks said Wednesday. "I wonder if now they say, 'Hey we need to bring you back in. We've seen the injustice. We've seen the wrong in the situation that we put you in. And we want to fix it.' Now is it signing him back? Is it giving him a position in the league? Maybe he works on the social justice committees. Maybe he's involved in a greater role, to make sure we don't have these instances again. I can't speak to how to fix the situation."

Hicks, Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan and wide receiver Allen Robinson all spoke candidly in Zoom calls with reporters Wednesday. Hicks was especially raw and honest, admitting he feared he would lose his job if he knelt with Kaepernick. At the time, he was in his first year with the Bears and on somewhat of a two-year "prove-it" contract before getting a big extension in 2017.

"At that time when Kaepernick was taking a knee I had the same thought that 85, 90 percent of the league thought at that moment. If I get down on one knee in front of this stadium, I am fired. My job, my career, my life is over. I will be blackballed," Hicks said. "And then to come out on the other end and watch it actually happen to Kaepernick it just tells me my feelings were real."

And yet, despite the obvious repercussions that players were facing, both Hicks and Trevathan feel like they could have done more.

"I feel like we all could've done a little bit better in that aspect. I did what I felt was important, and that was taking a stand and I joined the (Bears') social justice committee just to make a difference," Trevathan said. "It's real life. We're dealing with that now today. Football is football, man. And wrong is wrong. And right is right. It costs nothing to love one another. It costs nothing to care about one another. We can't keep ignoring stuff and putting it under the table. We have to be a man about it and deal with it and actually take actions without fearing the repercussions of stuff. What the repercussions are, we're still in it. We have to take action, man."

It appears more peaceful protests from players are on the way, perhaps even kneeling during the national anthem again. The question is: will the NFL establishment be more accepting this time?

"I do think (the NFL) would be tolerant of it," Robinson said. "Do I think that is the next step? I'm not sure if that's the next step but I think that's probably in the talks."

Trevathan added: "I'm gonna make sure I do my part, whatever it is. I've got two little ones I've gotta grow up and teach what's going on in the world. I don't want to give them a broken world that's confused and (full of) hatred. I don't want them to deal with that. But the reality is, I'm not doing this for me. I'm doing this for them. I'm doing it for people after me. I might not reach my goal, but I will get close to it. I will help and do my part. That's what I'm here for as a man."

In many ways, this feels like a second chance for the NFL. It's unfortunate that players feel regret for not standing by Kaepernick when their employers were making them feel like they couldn't. The league now has the opportunity to do the right thing. Hicks wondered if the Kaepernick situation can be rectified and included the Bears in the conversation. He wondered if Kaepernick could get a job in the NFL again.

"We watched it. We saw how it unfolded. And we see that he doesn't have a job now," Hicks said. "And this call isn't to advocate for Kap getting a job, but I will say that he did sacrifice his position for where he is now. I can't say (he's in a) tough spot, but I will say this, his career was ended because of it in my opinion."

Hicks paused and added:

"We signed Mike Glennon."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Akiem Hicks wonders if Colin Kaepernick can be welcomed back into NFL originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

COMMENTS

More Related News

Colin Kaepernick denounced Fourth of July as a celebration of
Colin Kaepernick denounced Fourth of July as a celebration of 'white supremacy' in a Twitter message

"We reject your celebration of white supremacy & look forward to liberation for all," wrote the ex-NFL player whose kneel protests swept the NFL.

AP source: NFL to discuss union
AP source: NFL to discuss union's desire to cancel preseason

The NFL plans to consider the NFL Players Association's recommendation to cancel the preseason though it prefers to cut the schedule in half, a person familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press on Friday night. According to the collective bargaining agreement, the NFL can impose up to four preseason games per team this season and up to three when the regular season goes to 17 games in 2021.

Column: Some more appropriate names for Washington NFL team
Column: Some more appropriate names for Washington NFL team

Now that Washington's NFL team has taken a long-overdue step toward changing its name, it's time to start lining up some possible replacements.

Report: Redskins
Report: Redskins 'likely' to be renamed before 2020 NFL season

Amid pressure from fans and sponsors to change their name, owner Dan Snyder and the Redskins are conducting a "thorough review" of the name.

Redskins to have
Redskins to have 'thorough review' of name amid race debate

The Washington Redskins began a "thorough review" of their name Friday, a significant step toward moving on from what experts and advocates call a "dictionary-defined racial slur." In a statement, the team said recent events around the U.S. and feedback from the community prompted the formal review. "This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field," Snyder said.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Football