In a chat with I Am Athlete’s Brandon Marshall, Chad Johnson, Fred Taylor, and Channing Crowder, the former Cowboys wide receiver offered his thoughts on Kaepernick’s protests.
“I respect Colin Kapernick, but there’s one thing that I don’t respect,” he said at the 30:20-mark of the interview. “I said it when I get the opportunity, and to get on the stage and say it I would and I love him to death. So it ain’t no hate or nothing like that, but brother you had the biggest opportunity in the world to create jobs, build jobs give jobs to people… The people that you was talking about, the people you so-called standing up for, the people who stood beside you, the people who lost their jobs because of you. Where you at? I ain’t heard from you.”
He went on to say that he had “reached out” to Kaepernick to no avail, and added, “He brought the awareness, and that’s why I respect him.” When asked what the call to action of the protest was, however, Bryant replied, “There wasn’t one.”
“It’s just like I see all these athletes, I hear them on Twitter, they be writing these cool-ass captions,” he continued. “I’d be like, ‘Hey the NFL told you to put out a Black Lives Matter tweet and you did it. But I ain’t see you do it, that’s a difference.’”
Bryant has drawn ire for his comments regarding Kaepernick’s national anthem protests in the past, notably brushing off a question about it during a post-game interview in 2017. “Whatever they got going on with that, that’s them,” he said, per the Dallas Morning News. “I don’t really have nothing to say about that.”
When fans criticized him on social media, he simply replied, “I got a family to feed.” In further comments, he added, “It’s the wrong place and time to be talking about that… I care about my Black people… at the same time I have a family.”