Serena Williams was showered with cheers and praise after she defeated her sister, Venus, in the third round of the U.S. Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday. But the applause she heard may have paled in comparison to two other athletes.
Former 49ers players Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid made an appearance during the match and received a standing ovation.
Kaepernick and Reid have both filed lawsuits against the NFL alleging collusion amongst teams for not signing them following their protests during the national anthem the last two seasons.
Williams took the time to speak about the ovation after her win.
“I think every athlete, every human, and definitely every African American should be completely grateful and honored how Colin and Eric are doing so much more for the greater good, so to say,” Williams said. “They really use their platform in ways that is really unfathomable.
“I feel like they obviously have great respect from a lot of their peers, especially other athletes, people that really are looking for social change.”
Took my niece to see @serenawilliams and @venuswilliams play tonight with @E_Reid35 at Arthur Ashe stadium.
Lani lost it when Serena surprised her after the match!!!
Thank you so much Serena!!! pic.twitter.com/MpR2KOSU1V
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 1, 2018
Kaepernick’s case recently took a step forward as an arbitrator refused the NFL’s request to dismiss it. Both he and Reid remain free agents.