President Donald Trump reignited his feud with Colin Kaepernick, taking credit for the fact that the quarterback has not signed with a team since opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers three weeks ago.
Speaking at a rally Monday night in Louisville, Kentucky, Trump said he was reading an article about NFL owners' fears about signing Kaepernick and said, "They don't want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that?"
Trump added that he wanted to share this with "the people of Kentucky because they like it when people actually stand for the American flag."
Kaepernick famously took a knee during the national anthem before 49ers games last fall to protest what he said was oppression of people of color, leading to dozens of athletes in multiple sports following with protests of their own.
In the midst of explaining his actions to reporters, Kaepernick called then-candidate Trump "openly racist."
Trump wasted little time in firing back when asked during a radio interview about Kaepernick's protest.
"I think it's personally not a good thing. I think it's a terrible thing," Trump said at the time. "And, you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try. It won't happen."
Trump later blamed the NFL's falling ratings on Kaepernick's protest.
Kaepernick said in November that he did not vote in the presidential election.
On Sunday, famed film director Spike Lee wrote in an Instagram post that he believed Kaepernick's unemployment had to do with something other than his talent as a quarterback.
"Smells MAD Fishy To Me, Stinks To The High Heavens," said Lee, who wondered why his hometown New York Jets wouldn't have interest.
The Jets on Monday signed another free-agent quarterback, Josh McCown, to a reported one-year, $6 million deal.
Kaepernick started 11 games for the Niners in 2016, throwing four interceptions and 16 touchdowns and amassing a 55.2 quarterback rating.
If he hooks on with a team, Kaepernick will stand for the national anthem during the 2017 season, sources have told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Kaepernick no longer wants his method of protest to detract from the positive change he says has been created, sources said. The amount of national discussion on social inequality -- as well as support from other athletes nationwide, including NFL and NBA players -- affirmed the message he was trying to deliver.