“This isn’t something that just started going on,” Bears receiver Robinson said. “Even if you date back to the whole Colin Kaepernick thing, his whole stand was this.”
Bears receiver Allen Robinson is trying to find positivity in the wake of the George Floyd killing and subsequent protests. If anything, he said, people are “past the threshold of. ‘Sit back, be cool,’” when it comes to social injustice.
But the root issue, he said, is not new.
“This isn’t something that just started going on,” Robinson said. “Even if you date back to the whole Colin Kaepernick thing, his whole stand was this.”
Robinson is one of the most respected voices in the Bears’ locker room, winning their nomination for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award and, Wednesday, their Ed Block Courage Award. He’s a member of the Bears’ social justice committee.
In a conference call Wednesday, was asked what the league could do to reconcile the fact that the former 49ers quarterback has remained unsigned since his 2016 protests: kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
“That’s what really I think hurts a lot of people is, that when this was going on and when our silent process and when a stand was trying to be took, it was completely hijacked by the wrong voices of what the ultimate agenda was,” he said. “And now seeing people come out and applaud him for what he was standing for. And that’s people across the league, across the country.
“From the inside, looking out, that’s what it was the whole time. That’s whether other guys were kneeling or weren’t kneeling, that’s the stand that was being took and that’s the reason why it was being took. I think that’s the most frustrating part. I think that the league can come up with something to kinda reconcile that. … Whether that’s team owners or league officials, they’re trying to figure out a way to definitely mend that bridge.”
He was more vague when asked whether he’d be open to the Bears — who traded for Nick Foles to challenge a struggling Mitch Trubisky — signing Kaepernick.
“I don’t think anybody would be opposed to anybody that management signs,” he said. “I think that management has the first right of refusal to whatever personalities, whatever character, whatever skillsets that they sign, and it’s on us to accept that person. I think in any locker room in the locker room you’ve got people that have been rejected by others who have been judged based on their character and based on things that they’ve done. At the end of the day, it’s not our job to judge that. It’s our judge to embrace them as a brother, embrace them as a player and embrace them as a person.”
He said he thinks NFL officials would be more tolerant of players kneeling during the anthem, as Kaepernick did, this season. But he wondered aloud whether it would happen.
“I’m not sure that that’s next step, but I think that’s probably in the talks of being a possible action taken,” he said. “And I’m saying that to say that, as far as everyone kinda coming together, because we saw on the opposite end, people doing different things, coming together on the other side of it and not taking a knee. …
“Is that the exact cause of action? I’m not 100 percent sure. But I’m pretty sure that will probably be thrown into the mix somehow.”