Spike Lee criticizes lack of change in NFL as Colin Kaepernick is still out of a job

Filmmaker Spike Lee has said he doesn’t feel “much has changed” in the NFL, as former American football player Colin Kaepernick has not been given his job back after kneeling during games to protest racial injustice in the US.

Kaepernick, a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, sparked intense debate in 2016 for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality, with former US President Donald Trump calling on the NFL to fire any player who fails to perform for the national anthem. was standing. .

Award-winning director and writer Lee, 65, is directing an upcoming multi-series documentary about Kaepernick that will tell the former NFL player’s story from his own perspective.

He attended a ceremony in London on Monday where he will receive a BFI Fellowship and told the PA news agency that he missed Sunday’s Super Bowl and Rihanna’s halftime performance as he was flying to the UK at the time.

Asked if he thought the football industry had changed, he said: “Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have a job in the NFL, so I wouldn’t say much has changed.

“Look, there have been positive changes, but there’s still a lot of work to be done, the battle continues.”

Barbadian singer Rihanna, who delivered a 13-minute medley of her greatest hits during the soccer game, previously declined to perform at the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show in solidarity with Kaepernick.

Reflecting on receiving the BFI Fellowship, the highest honor that can be bestowed by the British Film Institute, Lee told PA he felt “amazing”.

The writer, actor and director also said he would dedicate the award to his “dear wife of 30 years” Tonya Lewis Lee, his children, his siblings, his father and the New York Knicks.

Lee is best known for films such as Da 5 Bloods and BlacKkKlansman, which won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2019.

His work usually deals with controversial social and political issues.

He also received the honorary Academy Award in 2016 and the Bafta Special Award in 2002 for his contribution to cinema.

Lee told PA that he couldn’t pick one particular noteworthy project because he was “proud of the work” he had done in his career and that he is motivated to keep going because he feels that “not a lot of people on this God’s Earth can make something”. living a life they love”.

He added: “I’m in my fourth decade, that’s crazy. I’m just very blessed. I feel that many blessings have been thrown upon me and I am grateful for that.

“I understand things could have turned out differently, so I’m looking forward to tonight.”

The filmmaker also teaches and revealed that his number one piece of advice to students was to be “committed.”

He said he told them, “(If) you’re in this for the glamour, you’re not going to last. Hopefully you’re here because you love cinema and want to tell stories.”

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