San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he’s received death threats on social media and other channels since he began his demonstrations against racial oppression and police brutality during the national anthem last month.
“I’ve had a few come my way, but not too concerned about it,” Kaepernick said Tuesday inside the 49ers locker room, as reported by the San Jose Mercury News. He added that he has not alerted team security about the threats.
“To me, if something like that were to happen, you’ve proved my point,” Kaepernick said. “It will be loud and clear for everyone why it happened, and that would move this movement forward at a greater speed than what it is even now.
“Granted, it’s not how I want it to happen, but that’s the realization of what could happen. 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.”
Kaepernick first chose to sit during the national anthem during the preseason. He then changed it to kneeling out of respect for the veterans — a stance he has continued. Fellow 49er Eric Reid and soccer star Megan Rapinoe are among a growing group of athletes who have joined Kaepernick in the cause.
However, this stance also has put Kaepernick under fire from other athletes and fans. Kaepernick was the target of slurs and jeers from fans when the 49ers took on the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina, last Sunday.
“There’s a lot of racism in this country disguised as patriotism and people want to take everything back to the flag but that’s not what we’re talking about,” Kaepernick said, via the Associated Press. “We’re talking about racial discrimination, inequalities and injustices that happen across the nation.”
Kaepernick addressed one of those instances directly on Tuesday when he condemned the fatal shooting of unarmed Terence Crutcher by a police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Friday night. “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.”
People are getting killed and not being treated as human beings,” he continued. “No one went and checked on him, no one tried to resuscitate him, nothing.”
Kaepernick also spoke of his $1 million pledge to support organizations that work to promote awareness within communities. He is planning to give away $100,000 to 10 organizations in the next 10 months and vows to “make sure that I’m not only transparent with what I’m doing, but these organizations are transparent about where this money is going as well.”
“I think other people picking up on the protest and speaking out about it, from high school kids to activists to pro athletes, I think is huge,” Kaepernick said. “I think as the conversations continue in these communities, more and more solutions are going to come up as to how to fix this as quickly as possible. That’s ultimately the goal.”