The San Francisco 49ers and coach Chip Kelly have allowed controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick to practice in socks that depict police officers as pigs.
Kaepernick has captured national headlines for refusing to stand Friday for the national anthem prior to a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, which he said is a symbol of his political activism on behalf of oppressed minorities.
“Kaepernick hasn’t been asked about his socks yet, but it wouldn’t be shocking to find out that it’s part of his statement that he’s trying to make against police brutality,” CBS Sports reported.
The news comes just one day after the San Francisco Police Officers Association issued a statement condemning his comments on law enforcement personnel.
“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,” SFPOA President Martin Halloran wrote in a statement released Wednesday. “Ironically, it is those officers who on numerous occasions have protected Mr. Kaepernick.”
Mr. Kaepernick responded to the story on Wednesday via his Instagram account, saying the “pig” socks were only meant as commentary on “rogue” officers.
“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 mistrust,” the athlete said. “I have two uncles and friends who are police officers and work to protect and serve ALL people. 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.”
Radio host Rush Limbaugh criticized the 49ers organization and the NFL earlier in the week for selectively allowing players to engage in activism when the message puts law enforcement in a bad light.
“The St. Louis Rams players can run onto the field with their hands up mimicking ‘hands up, don’t shoot,’ [but] the Dallas Cowboys were denied by the National Football League their request to put a sticker on their helmets this season to honor the five police officers killed in Dallas,” Mr. Limbaugh said Monday. “When this all came up, Chip Kelly said, paraphrasing, ‘I can’t tell a guy what to do.’ You can’t? You do every day. You give ‘em bed check. You give ‘em curfews. You tell them what time they have to show up in the morning and if they don’t, ostensibly they’re in trouble.”
Mr. Kaepernick’s “pig” attire conjures up images of a Black Lives Matter protest in St. Paul, Minnesota, last year. CBS News captured footage of an event just outside the Minnesota State Fair where activists shouted “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon,” the network reported.
In New York, Ismaaiyl Brinsley also posted “I’m Putting Wings On Pigs Today” to his social media account before killing NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos on Dec. 20, 2014.
Mr. Brinsley committed suicide shortly after the double-murder.
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