Former Packers tight end Jermichael Finley believes some NFL players protesting during the national anthem may not have the purest of motives.
“Athletes are looked up to & serve as roll models, leave personal opinions about race and politics alone,” Finley wrote Monday in a since-deleted tweet. “Do what you get paid to do & play!”
“But is it for selfish reason (marketing). Or is it FOR REAL that they care,” he added later.
Finley, who had his career cut short by neck injuries, spoke with TMZ on Monday night and elaborated on his point.
“It’s more of marketing, it’s not really in their heart that they really want to do that,” Finley told TMZ. “But once again, I think it's a selfish reason I really do. ... I think, go out and play football and do what you’re supposed to do and not worry about the worldly things that’s going on.”
Asked if he thinks Colin Kaepernick’s protest was a ploy “just for attention,” Finley was clear: “I do. He’s got the afro puff, c’mon man. Cut that off your head or braid it up or something.”
Kaepernick’s demonstration did draw plenty of attention negative attention for himself—it’s kept him unemployed to this point—but also succeeded in attracting positive attention for the many causes he supports. He has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to numerous charities and also gotten involved directly with communities by leading informative “Know Your Rights” seminars.
Kaepernick, who remains without an NFL team, has said he will stand for the national anthem if he is signed this season. Marshawn Lynch and Michael Bennett did not stand for the anthem at preseason games this weekend in the wake of racist violence in Virginia. Bennett said he plans to continue his protest for the rest of the season.
Finley said that, rather than protest at games, NFL players should meet with lawmakers to address their concerns. A group of NFL players did meet with members of Congress in Washington in November.