Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick said on Saturday that July Fourth is a “celebration of white supremacy,” a stark contrast to his comments about Independence Day in 2011, when Barack Obama was president.
Then: July 4, 2011.
Kaepernick was spending his rookie NFL season as the San Franciso 49ers’ backup quarterback at the time.
- He tweeted a similar July Fourth message the following year, after he took over as the starter.
Now: July 4, 2020.
Last July Fourth, Kaepernick reportedly got Nike, which he gets paid lucractively to represent, to cancel an Independence Day sneaker featuring the “Betsy Ross flag” over racism concerns.
- In 2017, he celebrated “Unthanksgiving” with Native American activists, saying, “The US government has stolen over 1.5 billion acres of land from Indigenous people.”
During nationwide anti-racism protests in recent weeks, Kaepernick has supported the demonstrators, calling them “freedom fighters” and promising to pay some of their legal fees.
From 49er to activist: Kaepernick began his transition from NFL football player to professional activist in 2016 by kneeling during the national anthem at games to protest racism and police violence toward black Americans.
Kaepernick’s journey to wokeness has paralleled the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, which emerged in the Obama era and has only accelerated during Trump’s presidency.
- Many conservatives have said Obama “excacerbated racism” by being too deferential to activists who villified police and sought to reduce America to its legacy of racial discrimination.
- Peter Beinart, a left-wing political commentator, has argued that Obama ushered in a more progressive future, and that the country will only get more liberal.
- Conservatives and liberals alike have attributed the left’s continued radicalization on race in part to fierce opposition to Trump.
The president has supported peaceful anti-racism protests, but he has denounced street violence and activism that he sees as desecrating American symbols, including Kaepernick-inspired anthem protests.