Colin Kaepernick finds support at South Loop bars

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Bar patrons won't be able to catch NFL games at two South Loop bars this fall unless Colin Kaepernick is signed to a contract.

Kenny Johnson, owner of the Bureau Bar and the Velvet Lounge, said that the bars' TVs won't tune into NFL games until Kaepernick is employed.

"We don't believe that it's right that they are blackballing him from playing in the NFL when he's obviously very capable," Johnson said.

Kaepernick has been a free agent since March. He sparked national controversy last year when he took a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality.

Johnson said that his decision not to tune into NFL games is about taking a stand and setting an example for his children.

"I have two young sons," Johnson said. "I want to teach have to be able to stand up for what's right, and there shouldn't be any repercussions because of that."

Kaepernick's protest sparked a rally in Chicago in December 2016, when veterans and public safety officers gathered to ask the quarterback to stand for the anthem.

Former Alderman James Balcer participated in that rally and said that Kaepernick is unemployed for a reason.

"If I was an owner, I wouldn't hire him," Balcer said. "Number one, because I would not want what he did on that football field, and especially Soldier Field."

Johnson said he is sensitive to that argument because his father is a retired Navy captain.

"Our issue is not with the flag, and we're not trying to disgrace the flag or the country," Johnson said. "We are trying to stand with Colin and his support about police brutality, and that's it."
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