Jess Carter and Magdalena Eriksson, CNN • Updated 7th October 2018
( CNN ) — The NFL protests started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last year have inspired many, including football stars and athletes from other professional sports.
They have taken a stand by opting not to stand for the national anthem, as Kaepernick himself did for the first time in the season opener against the Green Bay Packers in September 2016.
Now a number of other athletes — including US soccer star Megan Rapinoe, NBA point guard and Olympic medalist Stephen Curry and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who recently made waves after he refused to stand for the anthem — have been photographed kneeling, however they haven’t decided to start a similar protest.
But as the protests continue to garner worldwide attention and cause a stir, two high-profile sports stars took a knee together during a rare joint appearance on CNN’s ‘Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.’
Sporting a navy blue New York Jets cap with black and white stripes, Eriksson watched on as her friend and next-door neighbor, Carter, told Blitzer about the controversy surrounding the protests.
Their appearance was a rare occurrence; the NFL and media outlets have been criticized for not covering similar activities by other professional athletes — and Blitzer felt the need to point out the gravity of the situation.
“She was kneeling to send a message and that’s something we should be paying attention to,” Eriksson said. “It means the rest of the world has the opportunity to come and look at US, have an open mind and see what it is that we are doing…what really matters.”
Carter told Blitzer that she and Eriksson have been friends since middle school, when they participated in a secret social media group.
The former NFL wide receiver and her Canadian colleague are currently stars of TLC’s ‘Naked and Afraid’, an survival series that airs in the UK and US and is now scheduled to air in October in Brazil, where it is likely to be a ratings success, Eriksson said.
‘You know, they’re going to send their kids in here’
Carter and Eriksson knew the controversy around the protests was in the news when they arrived in Miami for vacation over the summer, but neither of them wanted to engage in political debates.
“We weren’t going to say what we thought about things, that’s not what this was about…that is what normal people do, to be around each other, and have some drinking and laughs and have a laugh with someone that knows you,” Carter said.
“We didn’t need to know what the rest of the world thinks about our feelings on everything, we just wanted to spend time with each other and do a really normal vacation thing,” she said.
Eriksson, 25, has a new profile on ESPN, which she’s excited about, Carter said.
“I love everything she’s doing. She’s a kick ass soccer player, it’s awesome that she has all these opportunities,” she said.
“We actually said a bit in London, we think it’s important for the rest of the world to see American athletes as people and as their characters and that’s important,” she said.
Eriksson, the daughter of former Swedish prime minister Olof Palme, and Carter, a former NBA star, moved to the United States in 2010. In the show’s ‘If You Ever Make It to The White House’, Carter explained how his wife and Eriksson decided to move to the US.
“She talked to my wife about this and she went, ‘Well, this is a really great country,'” Carter said. “She talked about her friendship with Melo and Miami, and she talked about how it was a really nice place to raise children,” he said.
“She has kids…she’s going to bring them to school and they’re going to see people that have no skin in the game, people who have no reservations about who they are and what their political views are,” he said.
“They’re going to see beautiful people and beautiful children and a really great place and…you know, they’re going to send their kids in here.”