With the NFL season underway, actress Gabrielle Union sounded off on the fans that booed the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans' moment of silence against racism before the first game of the season.
On Thursday, approximately 17,000 fans were admitted to Arrowhead Stadium for a masked and socially distanced start to the NFL season opener.
During the national anthem and Alicia Keys' performance of "Lift Ev'ry Voice," which is traditionally known as the Black national anthem, the Texans remained in the locker room while the Chiefs stood on the sideline. When the Texans emerged from the tunnel, fans booed the team and continued as both teams walked to midfield, shook hands and interlocked their arms during what was meant to be a moment of silence and unity.
Union weighed in on the NFL moment that went viral during her appearance on "The View" Wednesday.
"It's heartbreaking. How do you boo unity?" Union said. "They're literally linking arms. Nobody was kneeling ... it wasn't about the flag. It wasn't in any kind of disrespect to our troops. It was actual unity, and you're booing."
Union added that "as heartbreaking as it was" to see fans boo the moment of silence, it wasn't shocking to her. Still, she said she felt "grateful" that the teams "revealed themselves to be real clear that these protests have never been about disrespecting our flag or our country or the anthem or our troops. It was always about being resistant to change."
"Those people want to stand in the way of progress and equality," Union said of those who don't support the moment of silence. "Who has a problem with equality? If you have a problem with equality, you've revealed yourself."
The two filed a grievance against the NFL and its owners, saying they colluded to prevent the players' employment because of their protest. The sides reached a settlement in February 2019.
"Let's give Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid back their jobs, 'cause what we're doing is punishing those who led the movement," Union said. "Now that you are seeing, you know, guys all over the NFL kneeling and showing different signs of resistance to brutality and inequality and the NFL is okay with that, how about we give the men who led the movement their jobs back."
"Give these men a back their jobs and show that real leadership can be rewarded," she added.
While Kaepernick has not been signed since the end of the 2016 season, Reid continued playing with the 49ers in 2017 and was ultimately signed by the Carolina Panthers and started all 16 games for them last season. He is currently unsigned, however.
On Sunday, Kaepernick, 32, called out the NFL's campaign. "While the NFL runs propaganda about how they care about Black Life, they are still actively blackballing Eric Reid for fighting for the Black community," he tweeted. "Eric set 2 franchise records last year, and is one of the best defensive players in the league."
The next day, Reid called the NFL's campaign "half-hearted at best" and the league's use of the video of Kaepernick kneeling while the quarterback remains unsigned "diabolical."
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