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NEW YORK (AP) — Supporters of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick  are demanding he be signed by a team before the National Football League season starts next month.

They gathered outside the NFL’s New York City headquarters on Wednesday to show their support for the free agent, who once played in the Super Bowl but opted out of his contract and hasn’t been signed.

Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem before games as a protest of police brutality targeting blacks. His supporters say he’s being blackballed. Critics point to his playing ability and say he should have stood.

The Rev. Jamal Bryant says the league doesn’t mind if black players get concussions but “they just got a problem if black players get a conscience.”

People gather in support of unsigned NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017, in front of NFL headquarters in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem as a protest against police brutality and is now without a team. His supporters say he’s being blackballed, which has been supported by NFL executives both on and off the record who say the feedback they’ve gotten has made them leery of signing him to a team. The free agent once played in the Super Bowl but hasn’t been signed by any football club. The NFL is over 70% black and all of its billionaire team owners are White males.

NY Giants owner John Mara told Sports Illustrated eariier this year why signing Kaepernick might be a problem for NFL teams.

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

Mara once signed kicker Josh Brown even after he admitted to domestic violence. Brown was released by the Giants after the admission became public and has not returned to the NFL.

Though Kaepernick has not spoken publicly about his NFL career, other NFL players have joined the anthem protest.

Kaepernick announced more donations from his charity this week in his stated goal to give away one million dollars to various charities.

Some critics say it’s about his ability as a player. Others say he should have stood for the anthem.

The NAACP sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday about the situation, saying it’s “no sheer coincidence” Kaepernick is unsigned. The civil rights organization wants a meeting with the NFL to discuss the situation.

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