Rick Zamperin: Now you know why Colin Kaepernick took a knee

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (C), linebacker Eli Harold (L), and free safety Eric Reid (R) take a knee during the U.S. national anthem before the NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and the 49ers at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., in 2016. EPA/JOHN G MABANGLO

America has had ample opportunity to address its decades-old racial divide, but it has consistently failed to do so.

It has been a week since George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died after being arrested by four white police officers outside a shop in Minneapolis for allegedly buying a pack of cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill.

On Monday, officer Derek Chauvin — who had his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds despite pleading that he couldn’t breathe — will appear in court to answer to charges of second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder.

Click to play video: 'George Floyd death: Looting, fires mark fourth day of protests in Los Angeles'
George Floyd death: Looting, fires mark fourth day of protests in Los Angeles

Floyd’s death has sparked protests — many of them violent — across America, and in other cities around the world, as African Americans demand change and an end to the inequality they face on a daily basis.

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All of this comes four years after a man took a bold stance against racial injustice and police brutality against African Americans and was blackballed from his workplace for doing so.

Colin Kaepernick knelt during the U.S. national anthem during the 2016 NFL season to bring attention to the very same issues the protesters are giving voice to.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback was ostracized for the way he chose to shine a spotlight on an extremely important crusade and was even called a son of a bitch by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Still to this day, Kaepernick has not been welcomed back to the National Football League, which makes Saturday’s statement from league commissioner Roger Goodell all the more laughable.

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“There remains an urgent need for action. We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society. We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners,” said Goodell.

Sorry, Mr. Goodell, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too, not on this issue, especially not after the way your league tossed Kaepernick onto the scrap heap.

Where was the commitment to addressing ‘these systemic issues’ when Kaepernick was one of your employees? Where was the “urgent need” back then?

Instead of working with Kaepernick and other like-minded players to heighten the awareness of racial inequality and attempt to spur some real change in society, the NFL decided to cower behind its shield and appease its corporate supporters.

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Actions speak louder than words, Mr. Goodell, and your league failed to move the ball.

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George Floyd death: Minnesota governor calls past week ‘one of the most difficult and trying weeks’ in state’s history

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