The Bucknellian

Beyond the Bison: Kaepernick’s hypocrisy

Isabelle Hinckley, Senior Writer

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been in the spotlight recently, and not for his offensive prowess or laser throw across the football field. Rather, the NFL star has attempted to become a new voice of change—a voice that calls out social injustice and strives for equality.

Controversy surrounding Kaepernick began back in August, when he decided to sit in protest during the national anthem before an NFL preseason game. He publicly stated he is “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” During a postgame news conference held to address his controversial decision, tensions only escalated when Kaepernick arrived wearing a T-shirt illustrating the iconic 1960 meeting between Fidel Castro and Malcolm X.

More recently, Kaepernick’s quarterback-turned-activist role has only gained more attention. Last week before the 49ers played the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Florida, Kaepernick made some outlandish comments that seemed to praise Castro during a teleconference with Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero. When questioned about his decision to wear the T-shirt depicting Castro, Kaepernick argued that he “wore a Malcolm X shirt,” and that he was specifically supporting civil rights activists and ideology.

Salguero continued to push, arguing that Kaepernick—whether he knew it or not—appeared to be supporting a brutal and oppressive past Cuban leader. The quarterback responded: “One thing Fidel Castro did do is they have the highest literacy rate because they invest more in their education system than they do in their prison system, which we do not here even though we’re fully capable of doing that.”

My reaction to Kaepernick’s comments is that Kaepernick’s role as an activist has officially lost any and all respectability. His comment about Castro is simply ignorant, and his apparent support for a man who fostered brutality and inequality completely disregards every argument Kaepernick has previously made, or plans to make, about racial injustices in America.

I understand wanting to have a voice; I understand wanting to fight for social issues you care deeply about. I do not, however, understand where you’re coming from, Kaepernick. How can you fight for a current social issue while simultaneously and ignorantly supporting civil oppression from the past?

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Beyond the Bison: Kaepernick’s hypocrisy