FC Dallas and U.S. men's national team defender Reggie Cannon says that Colin Kaepernick's much-criticized kneeling protests were right all along as the former NFL quarterback's message is now finally being listened to nearly four years after he first began his national anthem protest.
Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest racism and police brutality in the United States, with the former San Francisco 49er consulting military veteran Nate Boyer to form a plan to send a message while still respecting those that had served.
However, Kaepernick's efforts were met with widespread backlash, including from President Donald Trump, who told NFL owners to fire any "son of a b*tch" that kneeled during the national anthem.
Since leaving the 49ers in 2017, though, Kaepernick has not been signed by any other team, despite leading his team to the Super Bowl in 2012.
In recent weeks, though, the U.S. has experienced massive protests across the country following the death of George Floyd, with marches occuring all over the world in an effort to combat racism and police brutality.
And Cannon says that the ongoing movement only shows that Kaepernick's point was right the whole time, even if many didn't listen to his peaceful form of sending a message.
"I can firmly say Kaepernick was right," Cannon told reporters. "Peaceful protests happened, but they weren’t accepted. … Now, you get people speaking out against violent protests. We had a peaceful protest, we’ve been peacefully protesting. It didn’t work. Now that people are being forced to listen, the message is getting out."
When asked if he plans on kneeling during the national anthem when MLS returns, Cannon added: "I don’t know. It may happen, it may not."
A number of the USMNT's stars have been vocal in recent weeks, with the likes of Weston McKennie, Zack Steffen, Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams joining Cannon in speaking out against racism and police brutality.
Several key members of the team have used their platforms to advocate for change, with McKennie saying that one FC Dallas teammate, Ryan Hollingshead, reached out to ask what he can do to help.
In addition, FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez reached out to Cannon and other black players on the team, later hosting a group call for players to discuss their experiences with racism.
"Having that power of social media, I’ve been using that a lot," Cannon said. "It helps inspire different conversations to be had. After I reposted that video of George Floyd, as uncomfortable as it was, sparked a conversation between me and Ryan. He reached out to ask what he could do to help. That’s important, it gives you a sense of unity."
"It’s not just us fighting the battle in this case, it’s been different," Cannon added. "It’s been a crazy couple of weeks but it’s a time for change."