San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s pledge to not stand for the national anthem in protest of racist police violence has sparked the ire of a San Francisco police union.
TMZ published a letter from the San Francisco Police Officers Association (SFPOA) to 49ers president and CEO Jed York and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday (August 29) that demanded an apology from York and Goodell and criticized Kaepernick’s position for allegedly perpetuating a "false narrative" about police brutality:
While we certainly certainly acknowledge Mr. Kaepernick’s first amendment right to remain seated during the national anthem, as inappropriate as that may be, we will not stand by while he attacks police officers in this country with statements such as, "People are on paid leave while people of color are killed."
The union also wrote that it wished Kaepernick would visit a police academy, as would consider officers killed in the line of duty and Black-on-Black crime:
Perhaps Mr. Kaepernick could comment on the murder of 40 police officers in the United States in the past few months, or the assaults perpetrated on over 100,000 law enforcement officers in the past year. Perhaps he could lend commentary to the over 8,000 murders that African Americans inflicted on one another in 2015. The law enforcement community cannot be continuously blamed for all of society’s problems, including racial divide, in our country. It isn’t fair and it isn’t true.
Kaepernick inspired support and criticism from all sides for his decision to not stand during the national anthem—a pledge he intends to continue into the NFL’s regular season.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses [B]lack people and people of color," said Kaepernick to NFL Media after the first game, Friday’s (August 26) pre-season match-up against the Green Bay Packers. The 49ers released a statement to NFL Media "recogniz[ing] the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem."
Kaepernick’s stand temporarily inspired the Philadelphia Eagles’ rookie linebacker Myke Tavarres to also sit out the national anthem. Tavarres reversed his position soon after announcing it yesterday (August 29).