An NFL star says Colin Kaepernick should be on a team and defends players who protest

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick warms up before the team's NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who some believe is being blackballed by NFL owners because of his national anthem protests last season, has the support of one of the league’s biggest stars — Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

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Rodgers didn’t join the protest last season and kneel during the anthem, and he won’t again this year, but he told ESPN’s Mina Kimes that he supports players who do. He also said it would be “ignorant” to believe that Kaepernick’s trouble landing a job for the coming season, even as a backup, had nothing to do with his public protests of racial injustice and police brutality.

“I think he should be on a roster right now,” Rodgers told Kimes. “I think because of his protests, he’s not.”

Rodgers added, “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. They have a battle for racial equality. That’s what they’re trying to get a conversation started around.”

RELATED: A mural of Kaepernick wearing a familiar jersey popped up in Atlanta

“I think the best way I can say this is,” he continued, “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.”

NFL executives contend that Kaepernick, who guided the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013 but hasn’t been signed by any team after he became a free agent this off-season, is out of the league based solely on how teams value his talent.

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