Filmmaker Spike Lee and former New York Jets player Rev. Michel Faulkner had an intense exchange at a CNN town hall which focused on the NFL protests.
Former NFL player Hines Ward said that his team the Pittsburgh Steelers “dropped the ball” by staying in the tunnel (with the exception of Alejandro Villanueva) and that how the Dallas Cowboys “came close to getting it right” by kneeling before the National Anthem.
That didn’t seem to satisfy Lee.
“I was not buying that show with the owners kneeling with the players with their arms locked up,” Lee reacted. “I wasn’t buying it because they’re forgetting why this whole thing has happened. If they want to stop, if they want to unite the players, Colin Kaepernick should have a job in the NFL!”
He called the team owners “hypocritical” for saying they’re “all united” while they’re “blackballing” Kaepernick for doing it a year ago. He then invoked the signing of baseball legend Jackie Robinson.
“[Brooklyn Dodgers general manager] Branch Rickey made the decision to hire Jackie Robinson!” Lee exclaimed. “Nobody else wanted him!
Faulkner pushed back, saying that Robinson “was a Hall of Fame baseball player,”
“What are you talking about?!?” Faulkner asked the film director.
“He was the first black person in Major League Baseball!” Lee shot back.
“Yeah, but you can’t compare him to Colin Kaepernick,” Ward said.
Lee argued that he was referencing when “someone made the decision.”
“Branch Rickey made the decision!” Lee said. “He said ‘I’m hiring — no matter what everybody else says — I’m hiring Jackie Robinson.’ That was a business decision!”
Lee then asked which NFL owner is going to be the “Branch Rickey” of today and give Kaepernick a job.
“Colin Kaepernick has got a job!” Faulkner said. “He is a leader of a movement! He made a decision to put his career on the line! I salute Colin Kaepernick and his courage!”
“Why can’t we let him play, though?” Lee asked.
“Playing football is not the only thing in life!” Faulkner said to the filmmaker. “Put him in the movies! Make a movie about Colin Kaepernick!”
Watch the clip above, via CNN.
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