Antrel Rolle was a first-round draft pick in 2005, played in the NFL for 11 years and won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants. But long before that, he was simply the son of a police chief in Homestead, Florida. He grew up respecting the badge – and still does.
But he also refuses to vilify Colin Kaepernick for his activism.
“I understand where Colin Kaepernick is coming from,” Rolle said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “A lot of people are going to have a lot of opinions and verbal messages about where he’s making the stand as far as kneeling during the national anthem. But he clearly states it has nothing at all to do with the troops. So I understand exactly where he’s coming from. I’m with him 200 percent and my father would be with him 200 percent. It’s not about the police officers in general. It’s about the bad police offers. It’s the guys who don’t honor their badge and who use their badge as a (weapon). Some of the things that have taken place are really uncalled for. It’s not like you can say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, here’s your life back.’ Once a life is taken, a life is taken.”
Rolle hopes that people actually take time to listen to the cause for which Kaepernick is standing – or, in this case, kneeling.
“I don’t know the relationship Kaepernick has with his teammates, but if you don’t understand where he’s coming from, you have to understand his message,” Rolle said. “You have to really understand his message. Nothing is against the troops. He values the troops, he salutes the troops and he made that firm statement that this has nothing at all to do with the people that fight for our country. This is about what’s taking place in society today. So if you have a problem with that, obviously your eyes are closed. Or maybe you’re with the cops. Who knows? But I would never, ever be in that boat.”
Rolle said his father treated all people with respect.
“It doesn’t matter what crime you committed. It doesn’t matter what you did. You’re going to be treated with the utmost respect,” Rolle said. “You’re not going to be treated like an animal. You’re not going to be abused and taken advantage of, and he’s going to let the justice system take its course. Now you have guys that go out there and use their badge in the wrong ways. Those are the guys that I’m against. Those are the guys my father is against. I’m going to always honor the badge because I know so many outstanding cops out there in this world. I’ve run into several of them, but I’ve also ran into a few bad eggs. At the same time, it’s not about disrespecting the badge. It’s not about not honoring the badge. We all honor the badge as everyone should. But something needs to be done about those officers who are not honoring the badge themselves.”
In other news, Rolle weighed in on the shenanigans of Odell Beckham Jr., who this season has spent a little too much time whining on the sidelines and not catching touchdown passes.
“The thing with Odell is frustration,” Rolle said. “He’s a young guy. If not, he’s definitely one of most popular players in the NFL right now. There’s a lot that comes along with it. It’s not all going to be positive. The things that I tell him is sometimes you have to take the good with the bad, but you have to know how to transform the bad and make it look good. With some things, I feel like he’s a young guy and doesn’t know how to control the emotional aspect of the game thus far, and some things, I feel he needs to tone down a little bit.”