The Super Bowl LVI matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams has dominated headlines in anticipation of the big game, which will occur on Sunday (Feb. 13) at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. However, while the showdown and the star-studded halftime show performance have garnered most of the attention, rap star J. Cole has taken it upon himself to use the moment as an opportunity to acknowledge the work and sacrifice of former NFL star Colin Kaepernick.
In a post on his Instagram account, Cole shared his “respect” for Kaepernick, who began kneeling during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality and other issues affecting minorities, and his support of his efforts to make it back to the NFL one day. “Imagine 5 straight years spent waking up every day to train at 5am, staying ready in hopes that some team would reach out with an opportunity, no matter how impossible that sounded most days,” Cole wrote in the caption under a photo of Kaepernick kneeling on a football field. “He probably finishing up today’s workout as I type this right now. I see you bro, and I know God is with you. I pray the day soon comes when you get to play the game you love at the highest level again. I believe. And I haven’t forgot. RESPECT.”
This isn’t the first time Cole has publicly supported Kaepernick, whom he’s become good friends with over the years. In 2019, after Kaepernick settled his lawsuit against the NFL, reportedly netting up to $100 million in damages, Cole backed up the former San Francisco 49er’s decision to come to an agreement with the league—a decision that received mixed reactions from the public. “Listen, justice was served,” Cole said when asked of his opinion on the matter. “This man got his money, know what I mean?”
Last year, Cole showed up to support Kaepernick at the premiere of his Netflix limited series, Colin In Black & White, at The Whitby Hotel in New York City. The series, which stars Jaden Michael as Young Colin, documents Kaepernick’s experience as an adopted biracial child living in a white household, his rise to NFL stardom, and the factors that led him to take his current stance as an activist.