In the days before Akim Aliu helped thrust the issue of race into the centre of the hockey conversation in November of 2019, he sought the counsel of a friend named Colin Kaepernick.
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The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and activist was at the time residing in his ongoing exile from the National Football League an apparent blackballing thats seen Kaepernick fail to find NFL employment since the end of the season in which he famously took a knee to protest police brutality and racial inequity. So as much as Kaepernick encouraged Aliu to talk candidly about the perils of growing up Black in a hockey universe thats predominantly white, he did not spare Aliu a pre-emptive glimpse at the potential consequences of such truth telling.