Before making waves for refusing to “show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people” last Friday against the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began his protest of forgoing the national anthem back in early August before cameras caught him in the act.
According to USA Today, Kaepernick wore socks depicting police officers as pigs as early as August 10, but the photos did not emerge until late Wednesday night. On Thursday ahead of his team’s preseason finale against the San Diego Chargers, Kaepernick explained the reasoning for his statement on Instagram.
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“I wore these socks, in the past, because the rogue cops that are allowed to hold positions in police departments, not only put the community in danger, but also put the cops that have the right intentions in danger by creating an environment of tension and mistrust,” Kaepernick said.
“So before these socks, which were worn before I took my public stance, are used to distract from the real issues, I wanted to address this immediately.”
Bill Johnson, the executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, responded by questioning the viewpoints of the NFL and their stance on issues pertaining to its teams and police officers.
“It’s just ridiculous that the same league that prohibits the Dallas [Cowboys] football club from honoring the slain officers in their community with their uniforms stands silent when Kaepernick is dishonoring police officers with what he’s wearing on the field,” said Johnson.
“I think the league is in a downward spiral regarding their obligations to the public under [commissioner] Roger Goodell, and this is just another example of that.”
Since photos of him sitting between two Gatorade jugs during the National Anthem made the rounds on social media last weekend, Kaepernick has reacted by stating that he adorns the attention his stance and opinions have generated among people throughout the country.
“The fact that it has blown up like this, I think it’s a good thing. It brings awareness,” he said. “Now, I think people are really talking about it. Having conversations about how to make change. What’s really going on in this country.
“And we can move forward. … There is police brutality. People of color have been targeted by police. So that’s a large part of it, and they’re government officials. They are put in place by the government. So that’s something that this country has to change. There’s things we can do to hold them more accountable. Make those standards higher.”
On Thursday, Kaepernick is expected to see playing time against the Chargers in California, who will hold their annual salute to the military during the game.
Kaepernick has said that he will continue to sit during the national anthem and protest until he sees change in the country.
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