Maverick NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick reveals death threats over US anthem protest
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said on Tuesday he has received death threats over his national anthem protest as the killing of an unarmed black man in Oklahoma sparked renewed outrage in the US.
Kaepernick has staged a silent boycott of “The Star-Spangled Banner” during 49ers games this season, pointedly sitting or kneeling during renditions of the song rather than standing.
The 28-year-old says he is protesting racial inequality and injustice in America, including the actions of law enforcement towards minorities.
Kaepernick said on Tuesday he had received threats from different avenues since starting his protest.
“If something like that were to happen, you’ve proved my point,” said Kaepernick when asked about the possibility of the threats being acted upon. “It’ll be loud and clear why it happened.”
The quarterback said he had anticipated the backlash before he embarked on his protest.
“I knew there were other things that came along with this when I first stood up and spoke about it. It’s not something I haven’t thought about,” he said.
The killing on Friday of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher by police in Tulsa was emblematic of the issues Kaepernick is protesting against, he said.
“This is a perfect example of what this is about,” Kaepernick said.
“It will be very telling about what happens to the officer that killed him. They shot and killed a man and walked around like it wasn’t a human being,” he added.
Kaepernick, meanwhile, said he will donate US$1 million to local communities over the next 10 months, while launching a website to detail how the money is spent.
Kaepernick won backing from 49ers legend Jerry Rice, who had initially criticised the quarterback’s protests.
“I support @Kaepernick7 for bringing awareness for injustice !!!!” Rice tweeted. “As Americans we all have rights! Im (sic) hoping we all come together#solution.”