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Saquon Barkley on support of Colin Kaepernick: I don’t care if I lose fans

Giants Wire logo Giants Wire 5 days ago Dan Benton
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New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley had done a good job avoiding potentially controversial topics throughout his rookie year, but now entering his second season and taking on a larger locker room leadership role, he's become a bit more vocal.

In recent weeks, Barkley has retweeted support for former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, criticism of President Donald Trump for perceived racist rhetoric and even weighed in on Ezekiel Elliott's holdout.

a close up of a man in a baseball game: USA TODAY © USA TODAY USA TODAY

With the territory comes the potential for criticism, but Barkley simply doesn't care. If he loses fans over standing up for Kaepernick's or upsetting supporters of Trump, then so be it.

"I'm not afraid to speak my mind," Barkley told the New York Daily News. "If a fan wants to not be a fan of me because I retweet a thing for Colin Kaepernick, I don't care. But I respect that people have their own opinions. Everyone is entitled to that. I just would hope that people respect I have a right to my own opinion, as well."

As part of his support for Kaepernick, Barkley recently retweeted a video that claimed the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who opted out of his contract in 2017 and hasn't played since, is being "denied work."

In Barkley's mind, Kaepernick isn't playing in the NFL not because he lacks the talent, but strictly because he chose to stand up for his beliefs by kneeling down during the national anthem - a trend that caught fire across the NFL, but did not keep anyone else out of the league.

"I think you just answered the question yourself," Barkley says. "He's not in the league not 'cause he can't play. I mean, is that fair to him? Because of his belief or what he views?"

Ultimately, Barkley finds it inspiring that Kaepernick continues to fight for his NFL career after reportedly turning down deals with the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, and hopes he eventually finds his way back to the field.

"I mean Kaepernick's a household name, everybody knows about him, for whatever reason you know him for, and to catch a pass from him [in the charity game] I thought was pretty cool," Barkley said. "And even though he's not in the NFL anymore, and like you said with retweeting the videos of him working out, I mean that's just like I think it's cool he's still working out and still waiting for his opportunity for a shot and when the shot comes, he's showing he's still gonna be ready for it. And as a man, I respect that."

While this may trouble some, there's no denying that Barkley has gone about being more vocal very carefully. He makes sure he does his research, understands the topic he's discussing and respects those he disagrees with. But if anyone takes issue with it, he's letting it roll right off his back.

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