TURLOCK (CBS13) — The Black Lives Matter movement is motivating organizations big and small to right past wrongs.
In pro sports, there’s been a complete reversal with the head of the NFL commenting that Colin Kaepernick should be welcomed back and signed to a team years after he was disowned for taking a knee during the national anthem.
But what does his hometown of Turlock think of it all? Papiola Aghassi, the owner of Jura’s Restaurant and Sports Bar has supported Kaepernick ever since he took a knee for the first time. Some in Turlock feel like attitudes are changing.
“Kapernick honestly knew something back then,” said Aghassi.
Aghassi has displayed jerseys with his name in her restaurants even during the tough times when so many critiqued his decision to take a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality.
Now that he’s back in the headlines, “it gives me a feeling of joy because he’s actually trying to inform the world as an athlete and somebody people look up to,” Aghassi said.
Vanessa Garcia will tell you proudly that she graduated from Pittman High School in Turlock, the same as Colin Kaepernick.
“The day he took a knee was the day I respected him a lot more. And it’s doing something. God’s in control with what he did that day,” she said.
Four years ago, people in Turlock weren’t hiding backlash against Kaepernick. Restaurants that used his name in their menus removed it. Now amid renewed Black Lives Matter protests, he’s changing minds on a much broader level.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and President Trump said he should be given another chance in the league.
Turlock resident Cindy Mitzel said she has mixed feelings on Kaepernick.
“I didn’t blame him. I thought it was a courageous thing to do,” she said. “My niece’s husband is Army so I had a hard time with that. I know how Josh would feel and he wouldn’t be happy at all.”
Whether Kaepernick will make his return to the NFL is all speculation at this point. On Wednesday, Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn told reporters a team would be “crazy” to not have the quarterback among the list of players to workout this summer.