In a show of solidarity, the Washington Redskins’ owner and teammates locked arms, some players knelt, joining National Anthem protests across the country after President Trump tirade against former 49ers Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.
The emotion behind this move was also felt in the parking lot just before Sunday’s game started. That is where Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity members gathered to voice and show their support for Kaepernick.
However, the frustration heard wasn’t just directed at the President’s remarks.
"I challenge Dan Snyder,” said Anthony Castillio Sr., “as an owner of an NFL football team to step-up and respond to the President as several other owners have.”
Their suggestion is to protest the National Football League (NFL). Castillio and at least two other members handed out t-shirts made sporting Kaepernick’s name and number on the back. The front of the t-shirts read, “Kappas for Kaepernick.”
Castillio compared Kaepernick’s protest to that of Muhammad Ali’s Vietnam War protest. “He gave away his career because of something he believed in, and if we can't stand behind that, then we can't stand behind nothing!” he said.
Kaepernick began his protest, first by standing, to detest the oppression of people of color and police brutality. It’s been going on for about a year.
Why are Kappas showing their support now? WUSA 9 asked members this.
“Well, at the time we didn't feel that it needed to protest. I mean, we've always been in support of him,” said Kappa Alpha Psi brother, Wesley Williams, “but now we feel we need to make a public demonstration to force – to put pressure on the NFL owners because they are ignoring, in my opinion, they’re ignoring the black fans, in our opinion. And they’re going with -- based their decisions on what the conservative White fans, Trump supporters you may call them, with how they feel, which is they don’t like the protest.”
Not every Kappa may feel the same way, but those participating at this Sunday seemed to be speaking from the same point of view.
"He's one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and he should have a job,” said Wesley.
The brothers at FedEx Field Sunday told WUSA 9, they’re going to continue supporting Kaepernick until the league does.
The Washington Redskins issued the following statement after observing the National Anthem prior to tonight’s game against the Oakland Raiders:
“Football has always served as the great unifier, bringing people together to celebrate the values of courage, commitment, and achievement. We are proud of the players, coaches, and fans of the Washington Redskins for all that they have done to improve the lives of others in neighborhoods all across our region.
“We are also grateful for the sacrifices made by the brave men and women of our armed forces that have provided us the freedom to play football. In that great tradition, the Washington Redskins will work to address divisions and bring unity, civility, and respect for our greater community.”