"He opened up the eyes of a lot of people, both good and bad, and I happen to think good," Bradshaw said. "And he has paid the consequences, stopped playing in the NFL and people won't touch him, they don't want to deal with all the drama. So God bless him, that takes a powerful, strong man to do something like that, so well deserved. Whether you like it or not, well deserved."
Unlike Bradshaw, many NFL fans took issue with Kaepernick's honor because the 30-year-old athlete and activist became a lightning rod for racial tensions in America in 2016 when he refused to stand for the national anthem to protest police brutality.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick said at the time. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Shortly after beginning his anthem protests, Kaepernick also pledged to donating $1 million of his salary and all earnings from sales of his jerseys to community organizations that focus on homelessness, education, criminal justice reform and other issues connected to racial inequality. He's also funded "Know Your Rights" youth seminars to teach disadvantaged young people about history, nutrition, legal rights and financial literacy.
His actions stirred up intense debate on the left and the right of the political spectrum, with supporters joining the #TakeAKnee movement both on the field and on social media, while critics accused him of being unpatriotic and ungrateful -- to the point that President Donald Trump called for the "sons of bitches" kneeling during the anthem to be kicked out of the NFL.
The controversy may have played a role in Kaepernick not being picked up by a team this year, despite a promising start to his career with the San Francisco 49ers. But Bradshaw told TooFab that Kaepernick should "absolutely" play in the NFL again.
"I don't see how you could keep him out," the former football player, sports commentator and actor said. "He's a good guy."
"Father Figures," a comedy starring Owen Wilson and Ed Helms as brothers on the hunt for long-lost dad, opens in theaters on Friday.