- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 3, 2017

One of the most outspoken players in the NFL, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has come out in defense of quarterback and former rival Colin Kaepernick, who remains a free agent despite reported interest from the Baltimore Ravens.

Speaking to USA Today’s Jarrett Bell, Sherman criticized teams around the league for seemingly avoiding Kaepernick because of his national anthem protests and vocal views on police brutality and race relations.

“The funny thing about it, when you’re not being blackballed, you don’t have to say he’s not being blackballed,” Sherman said. “When football’s a safe game, you don’t have to say, ‘Football’s a safe game.’ It seems like the commissioner always has to say things to justify something.

“But you didn’t even do this with Mike Vick,” he continued. “Vick came back and [eventually] got a $100 million deal. … What is it about? It’s not about football or color. It’s about, ‘Boy, stay in your place.’”

The four-time Pro Bowler went on to critique the hypocrisy of worse quarterbacks than Kaepernick, the starting quarterback for the 49ers during their run to Super Bowl XLVII, having NFL jobs.

“He played in Chip [Kelly]’s system last year and went 16-4 [TD-to-INT ratio] on a bad team,” Sherman said. “He played well because he’s a good football player. He may not be the best, but he’s better than a lot of these dudes starting.

“Now if you told me this guy threw eight pick-sixes last year and played like a bum, had no talent, that’s one thing,” he said. “But Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett or whoever is playing for the Jets right now — whoever is starting for the Jets is terrible — have jobs. You’re telling me fans would rather you lose and put a worse player out there because a guy took a stand? That’s where it’s so troublesome to me.”

While Sherman helped forge a bitter rivalry between his Seahawks and Kaepernick’s 49ers a couple years ago, he’s not afraid to voice his support for the estranged quarterback — and believes more players should be doing so.

“Not a lot of guys are willing to step out there,” he told Bell. “So the guys not speaking up for him are doing him a disservice.

“We’ve been rivals,” Sherman said of Kaepernick. “But it goes beyond football. On the field, I’m an adversary. Off the field, we’re cool. Cordial. You just don’t ever want anything like this to happen to anybody. It’s unfair. He’s out there sacrificing for more people than himself.”

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