Megan Rapinoe was one of the first non-NFL players to kneel in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick began protesting against police brutality before his games with the San Francisco 49ers.
Now, about six years later, Kaepernick is out of the NFL and thus not participating in the protests before games like many others. Still, Rapinoe remembers what he did and gave him a little bit of a shoutout when receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Rapinoe called him brave for what he chose to do, which may have ultimately cost him a career in football.
Rapinoe was one of several people named to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, including Simone Biles, Steve Jobs and Denzel Washington.
Since Rapinoe made the decision to join his protest, the two have become intertwined. While Rapinoe remains a prominent figure on the national soccer side, Kaepernick has largely been forgotten by the NFL.
A couple of years ago, Rapinoe had this to say about the former star quarterback:
"It makes me, like, so p****d, and it makes me so sad. I feel like if there was a collective outrage about this, that man would be in the league. If everybody cared about it, he would be in the league."
Kaepernick is still not in the league, though he reportedly had a workout with the Las Vegas Raiders recently. Rumors are that the workout was a disaster.
Colin Kaepernick's NFL timeline
Colin Kaepernick was drafted out of Nevada in the second round of the 2011 draft. He wouldn't start until the next season when the 49ers started him in 13 games.
The 49ers finished 11-4-1 that year en route to a division title and a heartbreaking Super Bowl loss to the Baltimore Ravens, 34-31.
The former Nevada standout would start each of the next two seasons, finishing 12-4 and making the NFC Championship game, losing to the Seattle Seahawks.
In 2014, the 49ers finished 8-8 and their quarterback would go on to start just 19 games over the next two seasons.
In 2016, during the preseason, the former49ers quarterback began kneeling with teammate Eric Reid joining him. The following free agent cycle, the 49ers told him they weren't resigning him and he became a free agent.
That was the last season he ever played in the NFL. Since then, he's been rather ostracized because of his role in the kneeling protests. The league was silent about it until years later, when Roger Goodell apologized to the veteran quarterback:
“I wish we had listened earlier, Kaep, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to. We had invited him in several times to have the conversation, to have the dialogue. I wish we had the benefit of that, we never did. We would have benefited from that, absolutely.”
The former 49er remains unsigned and may not play again.