Colin Kaepernick is no stranger to controversy, and the former NFL quarterback remained true to form after issuing two tweets that sparked immediate backlash after claiming that the United States was acting in an imperialist manner by issuing a missile strike attack in the Middle East.
His statements appeared to be in response to President Donald Trump’s missile strike in Baghdad earlier this week. The attack claimed the life of Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and has grabbed headlines over the past few days.
While many on both the right and left have critiqued the president’s decision, the criticism generally comes from the worry of the missile strike’s legality or its possible repercussions.
However, Kaepernick claimed that the reason behind the strike was “American imperialism.”
“There is nothing new about American terrorist attacks against Black and Brown people for the expansion of American imperialism,” he wrote in one tweet.
“America has always sanctioned and besieged Black and Brown bodies both at home and abroad. America militarism is the weapon wielded by American imperialism, to enforce its policing and plundering of the non white world,” Kaepernick added in a second tweet.
The former NFL star’s two statements unsurprisingly drew both praise and critique. The first earned close to 11,000 retweets and over 23,000 replies, while the second garnered over 16,000 replies and 6,400 retweets.
Many of the replies centered on the fact that Soleimani was considered by many to be a ruthless terrorist, and the United States had estimated that he was responsible for as many as 17 percent of deaths of all Americans in Iraq. In fact, General David Petraeus once claimed that Soleimani was the most significant and evil adversary in the Middle East region.
Others pointed out the hypocrisy of Kaepernick talking about imperialism and oppression considering his contract with Nike. Nike has been accused of using sweatshop labor in Vietnam that pays around $0.61 per hour. Meanwhile, Kaepernick has allegedly earned millions from the sponsorship.
“I was with you on taking a knee but now my comrades in arms are going into harms way and need support not division. Make your money from Nike and chill,” one user wrote in a tweet.
Though most of the replies were negative, he did receive a little bit of support in the forms of likes. His two tweets had a combined tally of around 77,000 likes altogether.
Kaepernick had previously been in the news due to his NFL workout special. As previously covered by The Inquisitr, the fact that the workout was moved last minute meant few sports teams could attend, and Kaepernick was unsuccessful at garnering any interest for a contract.