Michael Thomas: 'Important' for NFL to now recognise Kaepernick, Reid & Stills

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The NFL must now directly address Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid and Kenny Stills having admitted it was wrong on anthem protests, Houston Texans safety Michael Thomas has said.

Thomas, then with the Miami Dolphins, was among those who took a knee in 2016 at NFL games for the United States' anthem, a movement that was started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

Those issues have been brought to the fore following the death of George Floyd and last week several high-profile NFL players were involved in a video that asked the league to condemn racism and admit it was wrong for "silencing our players from peacefully protesting".

Commissioner Roger Goodell responded by conceding the league was "wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier", which was seen as a significant step given how Kaepernick, who has been out of the league since the 2016 season, was treated at the time and in the following seasons.

However, Thomas says the NFL can do more and he wants the league to recognise Kaepernick, Reid and Stills directly.

In a text message to Peter King for his Football Morning in America column, Thomas said: "It is definitely a step in the right direction.

"However, I personally believe that people are going to call for the league to address what happened to the players who originally protested police brutality and systemic racism and oppression.

"They will ask that the league not only admit they were wrong for suppressing the voices of the players protesting, but also say their names, just like it's important to say the names of the countless black people who have been murdered due to police brutality so they don't die in vain.

"It's important that the league says the names Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid, Kenny Stills. It will allow the players to fully believe them and we could then all move forward together."