After leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013, some football fans say that former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick belongs in the NFL Hall of Fame.
According to USA Today, one particular fan feels Kaepernick should be in there, but not for his playing abilities. Football fan Bob Birkett discovered that anyone, even someone who is a retiree from Vermont with no connections to the NFL, can nominate someone for the Hall of Fame. As a result, Birkett sent a letter to the Hall in late June requesting that Kaepernick be inducted as a contributor based on the former quarterback’s efforts to call attention to police violence against Black and brown people.
“It is my pleasure, privilege, and responsibility as a supporter of racial equality to nominate Mr. Colin Kaepernick,” reads the letter Birkett wrote to the committee. “Mr. Kaepernick has shown exceptional courage in highlighting the damaging effects of racial injustice on Black people and on our society as a whole. His respectful kneeling posture has created a powerful symbol for those who are oppressed by our society.”
Birkett discussed his intentions with USA Today.
“He’s gotten a raw deal for so long,” Birkett told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s a little bit like (Muhammad Ali refusing to serve in Vietnam). The initial reaction was, ‘Holy cow what a horrible thing.’ Then a little while later, it’s like, ‘Man, that guy had some guts.’ “
“You think, ‘What can I do?’ ” Birkett continued. “I can’t force an owner to hire the guy. But darn it! I can put him in the Hall of Fame.”
The Contributor category for the Football Hall of Fame is for those who have made “outstanding career contributions to pro football in capacities other than playing or coaching.”
Birkett feels that is the case with Kaepernick taking a knee for racial injustice.
“Racists are putting all of this time and energy and effort into putting Black people down,” Birkett said. “The time has come and gone to let that go. I hope it can happen. I hope we make progress.
“I just hope,” he added, “that something good can happen.”