Most of my younger readers have probably never heard of Frank Serpico.
He was a New York City police officer whose campaign against police corruption was chronicled in the 1973 movie “Serpico.’’ He was played by Al Pacino. It’s a very good movie, by the way.
Anyway, it turns out Serpico is now 81 and still an idealist.
He turned out at a rally Saturday of about 75 mostly minority police officers who gathered in Brooklyn wearing black shirts reading “imwithkap.’’
Kap, of course, is Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback who remains unsigned after refusing to stand for the national anthem last year.
Serpico told The Associated Press he not a football fan but felt he should support Kaepernick.
“He’s trying to hold up this government, up to our founding fathers,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Kaepernick remains in the spotlight even though he generally keeps a low profile.
According to USA Today, an exhibit on the Black Lives Matter movement at the Smithsonian in Washington will feature Kaepernick game-worn items. The items will include a game jersey and shoes.
The exhibit will be shown at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened to the public in 2016 as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian.
The museum also has the warmup suit worn by gold medalist Tommie Smith on the podium along with teammate John Carlos when they raised black-gloved fists at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. It is almost hard to believe next year will be the 50th anniversary of that memorable moment.
The refusal of any team to sign Kaepernick seems to be turning him into an American icon.
Will Kaepernick’s protest be remembered 50 years from now?
Meanwhile, filmmaker Spike Lee is planning a rally supporting Kaepernick at NFL headquarters in New York City next Wednesday.
And if the NFL thinks the issue is just going to fade away, it may be mistaken.
The Atlanta NAACP announced Friday a boycott of the NFL.
“There will be no football in the state of Georgia if Colin Kaepernick is not on a training camp roster and given an opportunity to pursue his career,’’ a spokesman said at a press conference.
“This is not a simple request. This is a statement. This is a demand,’’ the spokesman added.
And a pastor of a church in Huntsville, Ala., has launched a #blackout with a video on YouTube.
It’s not likely that a boycott of the NFL will be very effective.
Still, the failure to sign him remains a public relations fiasco. Couldn’t Joe Lockhart, who was hired by the league with a political background in the Clinton White House, have pointed out that to league officials?
NFL teams were apparently worried there would be protests if they signed Kaepernick.
Now they are protests because they haven’t signed him.
The NFL put up with protests when Michael Vick was signed after serving a prison term for dogfighting.
If commissioner Roger Goodell were a real leader, he would have convinced an owner to sign Kaepernick months ago to put the issue to rest.
Then Kaepernick could have chance to prove himself on the field. It’s hard to believe every quarterback on an NFL roster is better than Kaepernick.