Mariah Carey appeared to throw some shade at the NFL during Super Bowl LV Sunday night after the league's Inspire Change campaign ad aired on CBS. "Happy Colin Kaepernick Appreciation Day," Carey wrote on Twitter, referring to the former quarterback. Kaepernick has been a free agent since the end of the 2016 season when he started kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
During the game, the NFL aired a spot to remind viewers of its Inspire Change program. The ad called football a "microcosm of America" with "all races, religions, living, competing, side-by-side." It featured photos from Black Lives Matter protests and the helmet bumpers players wore during the season with the names of Black men and women killed by police officers. In the end, the NFL announced plans to spend $250 million to "help end systemic racism" and said the league's "fight for social justice" will continue after the season is over. The spot even included footage of players kneeling during the anthem.
Happy Colin Kaepernick Appreciation Day!— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) February 8, 2021
Kaepernick was trying to bring attention to these very things with his protest, which many users on Twitter quickly pointed out, including Carey. The 33-year-old Kaepernick has not played since he opted out of his 49ers contract in 2017, and he filed a grievance against the NFL and owners for allegedly conspiring to prevent him from playing. He eventually withdrew the complaint, but he is still unsigned. He has continued to be a vocal activist.
In that Inspire Change commercial, the NFL forgot to show the part where they blackballed Colin Kaepernick, have only 3 black NFL head coaches and no majority black ownership.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) February 8, 2021
A source told NFL.com last month they would be willing to work with Kaepernick on the Inspire Change program. "We wouldn't be where we are today without the work Colin and other players have led off," the source said. "That is a key point here. We listened to our players. We needed to listen more, we needed to move faster. We heard them and launched a social justice platform because of what Colin was protesting about. The players have always been an essential piece of this effort and this campaign."
*Goodell looks around, hopefully*
"So we're good, right? With the Kaepernick thing? We're good, now?"— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) February 7, 2021
During a press conference before the Super Bowl, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell praised Kaepernick for bringing attention to the issues players care about. Goodell did make a video statement in June 2020 about racial inequality and police brutality but did not mention Kaepernick by name. "Colin was one of the individuals who obviously brought a great deal of attention to this, and, for that, he deserves our recognition for that and appreciation," Goodell said last week, reports the Mercury News. "But there were a lot of other players. In fact, many of the demonstrations started back in 2014 with Ferguson."