Colin Kaepernick, former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, took to social media this week to express his frustration over the Philando Castile verdict. In a post to his Twitter account, he showed a photograph that displayed two badges, side by side. The badge on the right is a modern day police officer’s badge with seven stars in gold. On the left is a black and white photo of an old badge with six points that is labelled, “Runaway Slave Patrol.” The label on the image says, “You can’t ignore your history. Always remember who they are.”
Kaepernick captioned the photo, saying, “A system that perpetually condones the killing of people, without consequence, doesn’t need to be revised, it needs to be dismantled.”
This isn’t the first time that the freelance quarterback has protested the killing of Castile by Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez during a stop in July of 2016. At that time, the quarterback started to gain national attention for dropping to one knee during the national anthem. This move gained support with several other high profile athletes across several sports imitating his move. He explained the move as a form of protest in which he refused to show pride in a flag that represented a country that oppresses people of color. Kaepernick called it bigger than anything he was involved in, including football and that it would be “selfish on my part to look the other way.”
A system that perpetually condones the killing of people, without consequence, doesn't need to be revised, it needs to be dismantled! pic.twitter.com/BVVPVZIQyD— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) June 16, 2017
Jeronimo Yanez was charged with second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile during the traffic stop. Yanez was also charged with two counts of intential discharge of a firearm that endangers safety. He was acquitted on Friday, June 16, 2017 of all charges.
Castile’s death was brought to national attention after his girlfriend broadcast the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook Live. Castile was licensed to carry a concealed weapon and notified Yanez that he had a weapon. Castile then reached for his ID. Yanez yelled for Castile not to reach for his weapon and moments later, opened fire, shooting seven times. Castile was struck by multiple shots and died on scene.
Yanez, despite being acquitted, was removed from duty as a police officer in St. Anthony, Minnesota. The city decided that the public interests would be best served if Yanez remained on duty as a police officer. City officials have decided to offer Yanez a separation agreement to allow him to transition to another career, but no details of that agreement were available.
Kaepernick has been on free agency for the majority of the free season. Training camps for most of the NFL start in mid-July, which means that time is ticking for him to be picked by a team. Several players believe that Kaepernick has been blackballed from the NFL due to his public stance about the spate of killings by police officers. However, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell refuted that during a press event at the Los Angeles Rams All-Access this week.
“[Teams will] do whatever it takes to make their football team better. So those are football decisions. They’re made all the time. I believe that if a football team feels that Colin Kaepernick, or any other player, is going to improve that theam, they’re going to do it.”
Kaepernick has reported that he plans to discontinue his protest of the national anthem this year if he is signed for the 2017 season.
Kaepernick has a six-season average QB rating of 88.9, with 12,271 passing yards at a 59% completion percentage across 1,692 attempts. He also has 30 career interceptions and 16 fumbles and 72 touchdowns. Kaepernick is also a rushing quarterback with 2,300 rushing yards over 375 attempts (6.1 yard average) and 13 rushing touchdowns.
[Featured Image by John Bazemore/AP Images]