As the discussion about Colin Kaepernick's 2016 national anthem protest begins to ramp up in wake of the global protest following the murder of George Floyd, Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks spoke candidly on a video conference call with reporters about how Kaepernick sacrificed the remaining years of his NFL career to raise awareness for racial inequality and police brutality.
"All I will say is this: We saw it. We watched how it unfolded," Hicks said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. "And we see that he doesn’t have a job now. This call isn’t to advocate for Kaep getting a job, but he did sacrifice his position for where he is now. His career was ended because of it, in my opinion."
Hicks concluded by blurting out in frustration, "We signed Mike Glennon." That final line is in reference to the Bears choosing to sign Glennon, who started four games before being replaced by Mitch Trubisky, over Kaepernick three years ago. Hicks stood by his blunt criticism of Glennon, saying, "You heard that, huh? Yeah, I said that. It was a feeling."
Hicks believes that, at the time, a majority of players in the league knew that their career would be over if they did what Kaepernick chose to do. "I had the same thought that 85-90 percent of the league felt at that moment: If I get down on one knee in front of this stadium, I am fired; My job, my life, my career is over; I will be blackballed," he admitted. "And then, to come out on the other end and watch it actually happen to Kaepernick just tells me that my feelings were real. It was the reality, and hopefully it won't be going forward."
However, going forward, Hicks said that he will continue to try and make other people feel comfortable around him since it was something he knew he unfortunately had to do since he was a young kid. While he didn't want to get into the obvious issue with that type of mindset, Hicks simply acknowledged that it was a necessary evil in order for him to "move through society and have people feel OK with me."