Osaka told Reuters on Wednesday that Kaepernick’s message about racial injustice and police brutality is more relevant than ever and that he should be able to get his job back. Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality during the 2016 season.
“Colin has been putting this message out since 2016. It took a pandemic, an economic crisis and a torturous murder on camera, all at the same time, for people to really hear him,” Osaka said. “It shouldn't have been that way. If the NFL wants to show that they really care the first thing they should do is take a knee together and give Colin his job back.”
Osaka is the latest sports figure to support the idea that Kaepernick should get his job back.
New Orleans Saints defensive back Malcolm Jenkins told “CBS This Morning” the league should address Kaepernick’s situation.
“I still don't think [the NFL has] gotten it right. Until they apologize, specifically, to Colin Kaepernick, or assign him to a team, I don't think that they will end up on the right side of history," Jenkins said.
“At the end of the day, they've listened to their players, they've donated money, they've created an Inspire Change platform; they've tried to do things up to this point. But it's been one player in particular that they have ignored and not acknowledged, and that's Colin Kaepernick.”
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan also agreed with the sentiment.
"I think [the NFL] referenced that they have made mistakes in terms of how they've handled peaceful protests and players voicing their opinions,” Ryan said, according to ESPN. “I think they've recognized that they've made mistakes there. And as far as Colin being back in the league, I think he should have every opportunity to. He created awareness for a situation that, it's taken some time, but people are becoming more active in terms of their response to it.
“I think, from that standpoint, his protest is being heard at this point, but it's taken too long. But I think he should have every opportunity to have a job and to have a spot at this point.”