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Colin Kaepernick

Tommie Smith knows all too well what Colin Kaepernick is going through

The 1968 Olympian weighs in on the NFL quarterback’s decision


If anyone knows what San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is going through, it’s Tommie Smith.

It was a half-century ago when Smith, along with fellow sprinter John Carlos, raised his fist with a black glove in protest of the state of black America while representing the United States in the 1968 Summer Olympics. The protest came after Smith won the gold medal in the 200 meters.

Smith spoke with ESPN’s Lindsay Czarniak on Tuesday to offer his support and words of wisdom to Kaepernick after the quarterback refused to stand for the national anthem.

“He’ll have to understand that the parables mounting against him will be a significant challenge as he moves through,” Smith said. “His beliefs have caused sacrifice. And sacrifice might cause a loss. And that loss hopefully won’t be the end of positive thinking about moving forward in a society. Physically, he’s already going through.”

Kelley Evans is a digital producer at Andscape. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic Southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.