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Susan Sarandon supports Colin Kaepernick and his protest of the national anthem. And like a great many who have helped his jersey sales skyrocket, the Oscar-winning actress purchased a No. 7 in solidarity.
“I bought the jersey because I am supporting him, and that was the easiest way to say that,” Sarandon told The Hollywood Reporter on Friday. “I’m supporting him not because he’s kneeling during the national anthem, but because he is doing something that has started a conversation, a dialogue that needs to be held about the roots of this country.”
Kaepernick, the current backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, has been making headlines for his refusal to stand during the national anthem when his team plays.
The 28-year-old has said his actions are a protest against the oppression of minorities in America. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told reporters in late August during the preseason. His protest relates to videos showing unarmed African Americans around the country being fatally shot by white police officers.
Sarandon, an outspoken supporter for Bernie Sanders during the presidential primary season, says it is not easy for people in the spotlight to take such stances, but it is important.
“I hope the conversation that he’s done — that the veterans have all supported for the most part — continues,” she says. “To address injustice is the most American thing you can do.”
Since his protest began, sales for Kaepernick’s jersey have soared, becoming the No.1 best seller in the league. This has been attributed to both those who support him, and those he has enraged, some of whom posted videos burning his jersey, usually with an American flag on scene.
“Then I guess you have to burn all your references to Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson and everyone else,” Sarandon tells THR of those videos. “If you’re doing something to challenge the status quo, it gets people upset. But the status quo needs to be challenged in this age. And they have a right to burn the jerseys, but this is a conversation that is about much more than just symbolism. This is about an ongoing injustice in this country.”
The support from other professional athletes for Kaepernick’s position should be the focus, not the ire of others, Sarandon contends.
“I am so moved by that because I know the pressure [athletes and entertainers] have on them,” Sarandon says. “People in the entertainment venue are expected to not have political opinions. I know what it costs those guys and their careers are short. So, I am so moved by those athletes who are supporting him.”
She adds, “And I am sorry he faces a lot of hate, but anytime you’re pointing out something people have managed to not look at for a long time, you’re going to find hate as a response. But on the other hand, there are so many people who are proud of him, and are grateful to him and support him, and I am one of those people.”
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