The heated conversation that Colin Kaepernick touched off with his decision to protest police brutality is still raging, almost a week after it was noticed that he remains seated during the playing of the national anthem at games.
And don’t expect it to die down soon, especially not ahead of Thursday’s final preseason game. As a measure of the temperature of the conversation, on Wednesday Kaepernick’s name was mentioned in the same breath as that of former NFL player Rae Carruth, who is in prison in connection with the drive-by shooting death of his pregnant girlfriend.
As for Kaepernick’s protest, he promises it will continue indefinitely. “When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent in this country, I’ll stand,” Kaepernick told reporters Sunday.
That means that on Thursday’s “Military Night” in San Diego, Kaepernick, who is expected to start against the Chargers, will remain seated.
Kaepernick made clear that his protest did not apply to members of the military, many of whom offered support when #VeteransforKaepernick trended on social media Wednesday. “I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country,” Kaepernick said Sunday. “I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up.”
That probably won’t do anything to lessen the scrutiny the pregame ceremony will receive Thursday night.
In reporting the anger toward Kaepernick that NFL executives feel, the Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman reported that one executive, whom he did not name, said he hasn’t seen this much collective dislike among front office members regarding a player since Carruth.
That’s how over the top this story is now.
It even reached Kaepernick’s taste in socks. Not that anyone really noticed or connected the dots, but as CBS’s John Breech and others reported, Kaepernick has been wearing socks that show pigs wearing police hats at times in practice this summer. Kaepernick has not been asked about them yet, but he specifically mentioned police actions against people of color in explaining his protest.
“People of color have been targeted by police,” Kaepernick told reporters Sunday. “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. 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.”
The San Francisco Police Officers Association responded by sending letters of complaint to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and to 49ers owner Jed York. In addition, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office invited Kaepernick to watch its training sessions.