Colin Kaepernick is hearing from Bay Area law-enforcement officials after his refusal to stand for the national anthem as a means of protesting “a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
The San Francisco police officers’ union Monday called his statements “foolish” in a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and 49ers owner Jed York and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office invited him to watch their training and “open a dialogue.”
On Sunday, in elaborating on his protest, Kaepernick criticized the training of law-enforcement officers, saying: “You have people that practice law and are lawyers and go to school for eight years, but you can become a cop in six months and don’t have to have the same amount of training as a cosmetologist. That’s insane. Someone that’s holding a curling iron has more education and training than people that have a gun and are going out on the street to protect us.”
Martin Halloran, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, wrote Goodell and York to say that Kaepernick had “embarrassed himself, the 49ers organizations and the NFL based on a false narrative and misinformation that lacks any factual basis.”
In his letter, Halloran wrote, according to NBC Bay Area: “Not only does he show an incredible lack of knowledge regarding our profession and officer-involved shootings, but also shows a naivety and total lack of sensitivity toward police officers.
“Ironically, it is those officers who on numerous occasions have protected Mr. Kaepernick.”
The controversy began when Kaepernick chose to remain seated during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before a preseason game Friday night, a decision he explained to the NFL Network’s Steve Wyche: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. 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.”
The NFL has not yet responded to a request from The Post for a comment on the letter to Goodell, but it pointed out Saturday that there is no rule outlining the behavior expected of players during the song. “The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pregame ceremony,” it said in a statement. “It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office issued its invitation in a Facebook post, writing: “In addition to the academy, we train thousands of law enforcement officers from throughout the state and country in all aspects of our profession, including use of force. We have a specially designed Use of Force simulator that puts officers in situations where they must make split second decisions on what actions to take. In addition, we invite you to meet with our current academies and veteran officers to talk to them about their experiences and yours.”
Kaepernick plans to continue to take a stand by sitting.
“I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed,” Kaepernick said Sunday. “To me this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”