Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre compared Colin Kaepernick's work on social justice issues to the legacy of the late NFL star Pat Tillman.
Kaepernick, the 32-year-old former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, gained international attention in 2016 when he began to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality and institutional racism in the United States. The move drew both support and condemnation from many. In 2017, President Donald Trump called on NFL owners to fire players who disrespect the flag.
Favre told TMZ Sports, "I can only think of, right at the top of my head, Pat Tillman's another guy who did something similar and we regard him as a hero, so I assume that hero status will be stamped with Kaepernick as well."
Tillman was an NFL football player who left his sports career in 2002 to join the U.S. Army following the September 11 attacks. He served in Iraq, and Afghanistan where he was killed in action in April of 2004.
When asked if he believes Kaepernick should be put in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his work on and off the field, Favre said it has "helped his cause tremendously and is deserving of much grace and respect."
"It's not easy for a guy his age Black or white, Hispanic, whatever to stop something you've always dreamed of doing and put it on hold, maybe forever," Favre said.
Favre, who is best known for his tenures at The Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, said that Kaepernick is likely still in shape to play football.
"I thought he was a dynamic player when he was playing in his prime, and he is still young and hasn't been hit in several years. So there is no reason to think that he's lost that much of his step," said Favre.
Kaepernick last played in 2016, while with the San Francisco 49ers
Kaepernick asked the 49ers if he could be traded in 2017, which didn't work out, and he hasn't had a job in the NFL since.
Earlier this month, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league was wrong for not listening to players. The NFL says they are now encouraging them to speak out and peacefully protest.