Social media users praised the racial outreach efforts of an Oklahoma man who donned a “Being black is legal” T-shirt to show his support for former NFL player Colin Kaepernick.
Stevie Joe Payne, a Navy veteran and author, said on Tuesday that he initially just wanted to find a jersey with the former 49ers quarterback’s number.
Dude! my black wife and I love you! that is quite a statement and it is more of a statement that an older white guy wear it! btw, i'm a 54 year old white guy. You rock, my brother. Thanks for being brave!
— NOT_EXONERATED (@beljar4) January 1, 2020
“I had no success in Bartlesville, Owasso, or Tulsa so I searched online,” Payne tweeted to his nearly 8,000 followers. “I decided on a shirt with ‘Being black is legal.’ I was uncomfortable wearing it here but I did.”
In a followup tweet, Payne revealed he’d grown confident enough to wear shirts emblazoned with pro-social justice messages, including “White Silence Equals White Consent” and “Black Lives Matter.”
“Woke” Twitter users cheered Payne’s gesture of solidarity and ally-ship with black people.
“More white people need to do this,” tweeted one self-described “outspoken feminist.”
Proves 1 man and 1 shirt can make a difference.❤
— Sharon (@Ernpea) January 1, 2020
“You’re a dream. Carry on & good 2020,” said one user, whose Twitter profile identified her as a Democrat.
“Dude! my black wife and I love you! that is quite a statement and it is more of a statement that an older white guy wear it! btw, i’m a 54 year old white guy. You rock, my brother. Thanks for being brave!” said another commenter.
Colin Kaepernick, activist
Kaepernick first began kneeling in protest of police brutality against minorities during the national anthem at an NFL game in Aug. 2016.
Even as his fortunes as an athlete dwindled in late 2016, his star as a celebrity activist rose.
While he hasn’t played a game in the NFL for three years, Kaepernick’s name has constantly been in the headlines following a series of controversies regarding his comments about race, police and America.
A blockbuster ad campaign with retail giant Nike in 2018 reportedly netted Kaepernick millions of dollars.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
Most recently, Kaepernick ignited a media controversy when he changed the location of a long-awaited NFL tryout at the last minute in November.
The NFL had arranged the tryout at the Atlanta Falcons training facility, but the quarterback’s representatives moved the workout to a high school stadium. Kaepernick said it was done so media could be present.
The quarterback showed up to the workout in a T-shirt emblazoned with “Kunta Kinte,” the name of a fictional American slave made famous by the 1977 “Roots” TV miniseries.