The Santa Clara police union has threatened to boycott San Francisco 49ers games in response to quarterback Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand during the national anthem and his comments on racial injustice and police brutality.
Members of the union wrote a letter to the San Francisco 49ers, which was obtained by KNTV, warning that if the team does not take action against Kaepernick, "it could result in police officers choosing not to work at your facilities."
The Santa Clara Police Department is the primary law enforcement agency at Levi's Stadium, where the 49ers play. About 70 officers choose work during games and are paid as security personnel.
"I'm already hearing it this week that next week on Monday Night Football, some officers are not going to work," said Frank Saunders, president of the Santa Clara Police Officers' Association of the game set for Sept. 12.
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The union says about two-thirds of the officers who work at Levi's Stadium are from Santa Clara. Officers from other departments could be hired if Santa Clara officers decide not to show up, but Saunders says this could create a conflict with the city's contract with the union.
Santa Clara Police Chief Michael Sellers urged his officers to avoid the boycott and to put the community's safety first.
"The safety of our community is out highest priority," Sellers said in a statement, reports USA Today. "I will urge the POA leadership to put the safety of our citizens first. I will work with both sides to find a solution. In the meantime, I will ensure we continue to provide a safe environment at Levi's Stadium."
Sellers said that he respects Kaepernick's right to free speech and that he would encourage all officers to respect the rights of all citizens, no matter whether or not they disagree with their opinions.
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Kaepernick made headlines after speaking out about police brutality and saying that officers "murder minorities." He was also photographed wearing socks depicting pigs in police uniforms.
"The 49ers are allowing this to come out from an employee and it's making for a hostile work environment for us at the stadium," Saunders said.