Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers were back at practice on Sunday, and amidst all the controversy, an important figure was on hand. Noted sociologist and Cal professor Dr. Harry Edwards was on hand, and had a chance to chat with Colin Kaepernick before practice. Jennifer Chan snapped a picture of the two as they chatted, before embracing and going their separate ways (down below).
Dr. Edwards serves as a consultant for the 49ers, and has been a civil rights advocate for decades. His presence and chance to speak with Kaepernick is particularly notable in light of his own involvement in civil rights protests. Edwards was involved in establishing the Olympic Project for Human Rights. The group was protesting racial segregation in the United States and elsewhere, and featured a variety of professional and amateur athletes.
The group advocated a boycott of the 1968 Olympics, and while that did not happen, there was a notable protest. Sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith finished first and third in their race. When they took the medal podium, they wore patches for the organization, and during the National Anthem they raised their hands in the “black power” salute. It did not go over well with a lot of folks, but it certainly generated discussion. Considering Kaepernick’s situation, it’s certainly a fitting point of discussion this week.
Earlier this offseason, I put together a separate article on Dr. Edwards’ interview with Dave Zirin on the Edge of Sports podcast. Dr. Edwards discussed the questions about whether or not Chip Kelly was a racist, and had some pertinent personal experience to draw from. It’s a great podcast discussion.