It’s probably natural to wonder why Rachel Lindsay’s opinion on Serena Williams and Colin Kaepernick matters. But in the year after her run as the first-ever African-American star of ABC’s The Bachelorette, the Dallas lawyer turned reality star has leaned heavily into the world of sports commentary; in July, she guest-hosted a week of the ESPN series First Take, and late last month she announced she’s hosting Football Frenzy, a new ESPN Radio show, alongside former Dallas Cowboy Bobby Carpenter. But more importantly, from The Bachelorette, she learned more than she’d have liked about racism—both the obvious and thinly veiled varieties—and about the constant danger of being pegged as an “angry black woman.”
On this edition of The National Podcast of Texas, Lindsay also has plenty to say that’ll interest Bachelor Nation, the show’s notoriously rabid fan base. In our conversation, we get insights into the show’s editing, why she believes she may be the last Bachelorette of color, and, building on an essay she wrote for Us Weekly, the uncomfortable spot she felt producers put her in during her season’s finale. Plus, for the first time, Lindsay weighs in on the recent Bachelor in Paradise finale and the controversy over the latest Bachelorette, Rebecca Kufrin, standing by her fiancé, Garrett Yrigoyen, even after fans discovered he’d previously liked a series of racist and homophobic posts on Instagram.
On Colin Kaepernick and players’ protests:
I agree with what Kaepernick is doing and the other football players behind him that have been doing the same thing . . . I’m for it, when you look at the reason that he’s doing it. What I don’t like is that there has been so much attention surrounding it and the White House has gotten involved with it, that it’s become a distraction. We’re talking now about things that aren’t related to the reason that Kaepernick started taking a knee, and that’s the only problem I have with it.
On Serena Williams’s recent behavior on court:
My initial reaction, “Whoa, why is she doing that?” . . . I don’t understand her, in what she’s gone through in tennis, because I haven’t gone through that. And I know that she made a huge splash when she and Venus came into this sport and dominated. They have had to overcome a lot of struggles because of the way they look in the sport of tennis. I do understand Serena’s struggle in that sense and everything that she’s overcome. And I feel like what we saw on that court was the tipping point.
On The Bachelorette’s Becca Kufrin choosing Garrett Yrigoyen after the controversy over his Instagram activity:
I know at the time that she chose him, she didn’t know about that. But if that were me, and luckily it’s not, so I don’t have to deal with this, but if that were me and I found out that Brian had liked not one post but eight different posts that were all different pictures but have the same common denominator—to me, that defines you, and I can’t unsee that. That’s not a mistake. That’s not you being stupid. That’s not you not paying attention or oblivious to what it is that you’re liking. It was conscious. You knew exactly what you were doing, and I wouldn’t be able to get past that.
On other some viewers’ problems with people of other races pursuing her on the show:
I knew that there would be people that have problems with other races that aren’t black pursuing me . . . And this truly is the first time that you had seen a black woman sought after in that way. And mostly there weren’t black men doing it. But I knew that people would have a problem with this. I had already prepared my mind for it. It doesn’t mean that it wasn’t hard or difficult at times. It didn’t mean that it didn’t get to me, because it did at times, but at the end of the day I knew what I was getting myself into. And I knew that that wasn’t the majority’s opinion, so I had to rise above that.