LAS VEGAS — Deontay Wilder takes great pride in being African American and is more than willing to address the challenges black men and women face in this country, especially when it comes to police brutality and social issues. His “Til This Day” meme still resonates with his fans and raised his profile beyond being a heavyweight champion. He’s now a voice of the community and it’s a badge of honor he wears with pride.
“I’m not one of these people who is afraid to speak my mind,” Wilder, who defends his WBC heavyweight title against Luis Ortiz on November 23, told Sporting News. “I have a platform and I’m going to use it. When you’re in a position that I’m in, why not use the platform for the greater good? That’s exactly what I’m doing.”
Wilder’s stance finds him sharing similar values to another individual who is currently back in the spotlight: Colin Kaepernick.
The former 49ers quarterback, who made national headlines when he decided to kneel during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality against African Americans, was caught in a bit of controversy last weekend when he decided to not attend an NFL scheduled workout due to “transparency issues” and held a workout of his own in Riverdale, Ga.
The situation has caused a stir and Wilder addressed the situation that has been the hot topic in debate shows.
“Unfortunately, we live in a society where there are certain things that you can’t do because you’re not in a position to do so,” Wilder said when addressing why Kaepernick is currently not on an NFL roster. “In sports like basketball and football, there are owners who feel a certain type of way and may not want you to represent them in that manner because it doesn’t reflect who they are.”
Although Wilder may not necessarily agree with Kaepernick being out of the NFL for the past three years, he understands why that is. However, he made no bones about it in that he supports Kaepernick and the stand that he has decided to take. He just believes that it is unfortunate that others control his future in the NFL.
“I can do my own thing as a fighter because I don’t have a team or an owner to answer to,” he said about his ability to say what he wants without repercussions. “It’s different in other sports and he took responsibility and owned the consequences of his actions like a man.
“I wish nothing but the best for Colin Kaepernick and hopefully he gets on a team because I know he’ll do a damn good job. He deserves another chance to play.”