LaDainian Tomlinson Calls NFL's Treatment of Colin Kaepernick a 'Black Eye'

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Former NFL running back LaDainian Tomlinson said Wednesday that the NFL's treatment of Colin Kaepernick was a "black eye" on the league.

"It’s unfortunate and it’s sad and it’s a black eye on our league, no question about it, what happened to Kaepernick not being able to get a job,” Tomlinson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Drew Davison. "I think now people are starting to appreciate what he did and they’re understanding of why he did what he did even though at the time he was telling us what he was doing it for."

Tomlinson discussed the NFL's treatment of Kaepernick as protests continue across the country following the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. Floyd was stopped by officer Derek Chauvin, who placed his knee on Floyd's neck for over eight minutes. Floyd can be heard on a video recording of the incident saying, "I can't breathe," multiple times.

“I’m just glad people are not turning a blind eye. I’m happy they’re not saying this is just one incident and that’s a bad cop," Tomlinson told Davison. "I’m glad people are not doing that. We need true police reform. We need justice reform. We need criminal justice reform. We need all of these things.”

Kaepernick began to kneel during the pre-game national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and racial injustice. The former 49ers quarterback did not play after the 2016 season. Kaepernick led the 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII before losing to the Ravens, and he owns a 28–30 career record.

Tomlinson retired in 2011 with over 13,000 career rushing yards and 145 rushing touchdowns. He led the NFL in touchdowns three times, and he was a three-time All-Pro. His 28 rushing touchdowns in 2006 stands as the NFL record for single-season rushing TDs.