Pro-Kaepernick crowd protests at NFL HQ as NAACP requests meeting with Roger Goodell

People gather in support of unsigned NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in front of NFL headquarters. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

A large crowd gathered Wednesday at the NFL’s Park Ave. headquarters in midtown Manhattan as part of a planned rally to protest the league’s failure to sign Colin Kaepernick. Before the event, the NAACP announced that it was requesting a meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other league executives to discuss the quarterback “being victimized and discriminated against because of his exercise of free speech.”

In a letter to Goodell, the NAACP said “many in our community” are viewing Kaepernick’s ongoing inability to latch on with a team as “a league-wide set of retaliatory actions” against him. The former 49er is widely believed to be getting blackballed by the NFL because he protested racial injustice last season be kneeling during the national anthem, inspiring other athletes along the way to emulate his example.

“In order to determine the best approach to protecting players from being unfairly persecuted for their political beliefs,” the civil rights group said in its letter, “we hope to begin a dialogue with you and any other members of NFL leadership who have a vested interest in preserving the league’s integrity.” At Wednesday’s rally, the NAACP handed out T-shirts

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