NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, speaking on SportsCenter Coast to Coast on Thursday, said he hopes Colin Kaepernick utilizes the platform he has established to help solve the issues he has put a spotlight on.
"At some point in the very near future he needs to figure out a way where he can be a part of the solution," Abdul-Jabbar said, "so I would suggest to Mr. Kaepernick that he try to become a bridge between the black community and the police forces."
Talking of the San Francisco 49ers quarterback's refusal to stand for the national anthem, Abdul-Jabbar said, "I see it as being patriotic to bring attention to issues that are important and meaningful for the whole country."
Abdul-Jabbar said the killing of unarmed individuals is "no longer something we can live with." Saying that his father and grandfather were both members of law enforcement, Abdul-Jabbar also said, "Police officers are a very vital and necessary part of what democracy is about. We can't do without police."
Abdul-Jabbar recounted his experience in 1967, when he and other black athletes, including Jim Brown and Bill Russell, held a summit to show their support for Muhammad Ali's decision not to fight in the Vietnam War.
As to whether he sees Kaepernick's actions in line with Ali's protest, Abdul-Jabbar said it depends on what Kaepernick does now, and whether he can "find a positive way to interact with the people who support him. ... We have to be able to hear the other side."
Asked whether Kaepernick should stand for the anthem before Thursday night's preseason game in San Diego, Abdul-Jabbar said "That's up to him. I think he should tailor his protest, or his demonstration, in a way that makes it a positive statement, in a way that opens the doors to dialogue."
Kaepernick refused to stand during the national anthem before a game last Friday.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media after the game. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."