Aaron Rodgers: Colin Kaepernick isn't on an NFL roster 'because of his protests'

The 2017 regular season begins next week and Colin Kaepernick remains out of work. Depending on who you ask, it's because he's being blackballed for kneeling during the national anthem last year to protest social injustice, or due to the fact that he just hasn't been a very good quarterback in recent years.

For Aaron Rodgers, the reason isn't complicated. "I think he should be on a roster right now. I think because of his protests, he's not," Rodgers told ESPN The Magazine's Mina Kimes.

And even though Kaepernick remains out of the league, players continue to take a knee during the anthem, including Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett and 49ers safety Eric Reid -- and some of their teammates have stood with them in solidarity.

Seahawks center Justin Britt, who is white, put his hand on Bennett's shoulder as Bennett knelt. And Browns tight end Seth DeValve became the first white player to kneel during the anthem.

"I don't understand what it's like to be in that situation. What it is to be pulled over, or profiled, or any number of issues that have happened, that Colin was referencing -- or any of my teammates have talked to me about. ... But I know it's a real thing my black teammates have to deal with."  -- Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers says he will stand during the anthem but understands the reasons others choose to kneel.

"I'm gonna stand because that's the way I feel about the flag -- but I'm also 100 percent supportive of my teammates or any fellow players who are choosing not to," he said. "They have a battle for racial equality. That's what they're trying to get a conversation started around. ...

"I think the best way I can say this is: I don't understand what it's like to be in that situation. What it is to be pulled over, or profiled, or any number of issues that have happened, that Colin was referencing -- or any of my teammates have talked to me about. ... But I know it's a real thing my black teammates have to deal with."

Earlier this month in Seattle, Britt explained his decision to support Bennett.

"...[W]e all have choices whether to be an example or be a follower. I always tell kids: Don't be a follower. Be the one they're following. So whether it's good or bad in some eyes, I feel like I'm just supporting my teammate, supporting why he's doing it and his reasons, and trying to encourage others."

And in Cleveland, DeValve, a 2016 fourth-round pick out of Princeton who is married to an African-American woman, said recent events in Charlottesville, Va., that left one woman dead and 19 injured, factored into his decision to join his teammates in protest.

"I myself will be raising children that don't look like me, and I want to do my part as well to do everything I can to raise them in a better environment than we have right now," he said on Aug. 22. "So I wanted to take the opportunity with my teammates during the anthem to pray for our country and also to draw attention to the fact that we have work to do."

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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