Former tennis star James Blake appeared on CNN on Wednesday to discuss Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the national anthem in protest against racial oppression in the United States.
“For me, a protest gets people speaking...I think he’s accomplished that mission” Blake said of the San Francisco 49ers quarterback. “People have said ‘Oh, he should’ve done it in a different way.’ Well, I don’t know of another way he could have gotten this many people talking about it.”
Blake also noted the significance of the protest given the fact that the third verse of the national anthem, which is no longer sung at events, advocates for the killing of slaves.
“It does strike a cord and it strikes a nerve with some people,” Blake said of the protest’s message, adding that he feels Kaepernick has a the right to do that.
Last September, Blake was mistaken for an identify theft suspect outside of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. Blake was slammed to the ground, handcuffed and detained by police before an officer realized they had detained the wrong person.
Blake later spoke out about how police need to be held accountable for their actions. He also added that he felt race could have been a factor in the incident. Blake’s father was black and his mother is white.
Kaepernick said Sunday that he will continue to sit for the national anthem.
“This country stands for freedom, liberty, justice for all. And it’s not happening for all right now,” the quarterback said. “When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent in this country... I’ll stand.”