Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Pete Carroll: 'We owe a tremendous amount' to Colin Kaepernick

Following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man who died while in Minneapolis police custody on May 25, protests and demonstrations broke out in American cities and elsewhere around the world. Prominent sports figures have also addressed Floyd's untimely death and police violence over the past week.

As ESPN's Nick Friedell wrote, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich recently had a chat for an edition of The Ringer's "Flying Coach" podcast, and the topic of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick came up. 

"I think that there was a moment in time that a young man captured," Carroll said about Kaepernick dropping to one knee during renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner ahead of NFL games to silently protest social injustices and police violence against African-Americans. 

"He took a stand on something, figuratively took a knee, but he stood up for something he believed in -- and what an extraordinary moment it was that he was willing to take."

Carroll continued: 

"But what happened from the process is it elevated awareness from people that just took everything away from what the statement was all about, and it just got tugged and pulled and ripped apart.

"And the whole mission of what the statement was, such a beautiful ... it's still the statement that we're making right today. We're not protecting our people. We're not looking after one another. We're not making the right choices. We're not following the right process to bring people to justice when actions are taken. So I think it was a big sacrifice in the sense that a young man makes, but those are the courageous moments that some guys take.

"And we owe a tremendous amount to him for sure."

Kaepernick began his protests during the 2016 NFL preseason and continued the demonstrations throughout the campaign. The Niners released him the subsequent offseason, and he failed to find a different football home through May 2020.

Many believe the league unofficially blackballed Kaepernick. 

Kerr also spoke about Kaepernick's protests: 

"To me, it's really hard to look at what's going on right now with all the violence and the protests and not look back to four years ago and say, 'Look, this guy [Kaepernick] was trying to peacefully protest and nothing came of it. The killings went on and nothing changed and he was actually ridiculed, so it's a real tough one to think about."

While Kaepernick was out of football the past three seasons, the 32-year-old, who remains an available free agent, started a movement that was borrowed by figures such as United States Women's National Team star Megan Rapinoe.

Zac Wassink is a football and futbol aficionado who is a PFWA member and is probably yelling about Tottenham Hotspur at the moment. Erik Lamela and Eli Manning apologist. Chanted for Matt Harvey to start the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field. Whoops. You can find him on Twitter at @ZacWassink

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