New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley unconcerned about losing fans over Kaepernick support

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New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley said Tuesday he is not concerned about losing fans over his support of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Barkley told the New York Daily News he hopes that people respect his opinions — whether it’s on Kaepernick, Baltimore or Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout.

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“I’m not afraid to speak my mind,” Barkley told the paper.

“If a fan wants to not be a fan of me because I retweet a thing for Colin Kaepernick, I don’t care,” he said. “But I respect that people have their own opinions. Everyone is entitled to that. I just would hope that people respect I have a right to my own opinion, as well.”

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) is tackled by Philadelphia Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins (27) during the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) is tackled by Philadelphia Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins (27) during the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Barkley insisted that he makes sure he is up-to-par with certain topics before retweeting someone’s opinion on the matter or giving his own.

“If you ask me, ‘Am I in year two being more willing to be vocal about my opinion’ — that’s what I think the question is — I think that was the same case in year one,” the second-year running back told the New York Daily News. “I think that was the same case in college football: understanding I have a platform and if there’s an issue that came up that I disagreed with, I’m more than willing to talk. I’m not going to just talk about it.”

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He added: “Like say if you asked me a question up there (at the podium) and I’m not well-educated on the situation. I would go back, educate myself on the situation, and then be able to come back and give you a proper answer. I’m not gonna just talk off of emotions and in the moment. I feel like with topics like that, definitely go back and do my research and do my due diligence.

“It’s not like ‘cause I’m in year two I’m willing to be more vocal about a situation. No. I’ve always been vocal and understand I have a platform. But hey, if I retweet a video of Colin Kaepernick working out and staying ready for the NFL and people dislike that, so be it.”

Barkley retweeted a video from Kaepernick’s account last week. The former quarterback, who started a firestorm when he decided to kneel during the national anthem to raise awareness of what he believes are racial injustices in the U.S., released a video saying he was “still ready” to play in the NFL.

Eric Reid, left, kneeled during with the national anthem with Colin Kaepernick, right.

Eric Reid, left, kneeled during with the national anthem with Colin Kaepernick, right. (AP)

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When it comes to the Giants and Kaepernick, Giants owner John Mara has made his thoughts known on where he stands.

Back in May 2017, Mara wrote in a Monday Morning Quarterback column that no one in the league was “blackballing” Kaepernick. He also said that Giants fans threatened to boycott the team if any Giants players decided to kneel during the national anthem.

“All my years being in the league, I never received more emotional mail from people than I did about that issue,” he said in the 2017 column. “If any of your players ever do that, we are never coming to another Giants game. It wasn’t one or two letters. It was a lot. It’s an emotional, emotional issue for a lot of people, moreso than any other issue I’ve run into.”

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He added that the team never discussed signing Kaepernick, who last played during the 2016 season.

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