Controversial Sign Criticizes Colin Kaepernick (Photo)

Controversial Sign Criticizes Colin Kaepernick (Photo) Promo Image

A gas station owner's message about Colin Kaepernick has sparked controversy in Reno, Nevada.

Wolf Fastop owner Moe Alazawi changed the sign outside of his gas station to criticize Kaepernick, the NFL player who has become known for kneeling during the national anthem to protest abuses against people of color in America, according to KRNV-KRXI.

"Unemployed, need job, work good on his knees," reads the controversial sign, which also includes an image of the character Calvin, from the comic "Calvin and Hobbes," urinating on Kaepernick's name.

The sign has since been vandalized, Alazawi said, reports KTVN. He added that he couldn't tell what was used to damage the sign. There were reportedly no gun shell casings found in the vicinity. The owner said he has filed a police report and will be looking at security footage to send to authorities. There was no other damage to the gas station.

"In the back of any mind, [I knew] it was going to happen," said the gas station owner. "Some stupid idiot is going to take it personal. It's a joke. It's funny."

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Alazawi added that he doesn't regret putting up the sign, and he has no plans to take it down or change it.

"I'm going to speak my mind. It doesn't matter what people think about it," he said. "If they want to express their opinion through violence that's fine. I just put up a funny sign to express my thought. I have the right to do it like anybody else."

According to Alazawi, he got the idea to put up the sign after a University of Nevada, Reno police officer's Kaepernick Halloween costume drew outrage. The gas station owner said he created the sign to protest how the university handled the situation.

An image of the costume reportedly worn by Antonio Gutierrez circulated on social media. He wore a shirt with Kaepernick's number on it, along with a fake nose and afro, and a sign that read, "Will stand for food." Some users called the costume out for being insensitive.

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"Hey [UNR]! One of your officers, Antonio Gutierrez, decided to go as a racist portrayal of #Kaep last night," wrote one user on Twitter to the university. "This isn't OK!!"

University Police Chief Adam Garcia issued a statement on Oct. 29 apologizing for his officer's behavior.

For those who have seen the Halloween costume of one of our officers apparently mocking a citizen who has chosen to take advantage of his constitutional right to protest, I offer my sincere apologies.

... I have heard from many members of our community over the past few weeks that they feel unsafe on campus because of our current social and political climate. Behavior such as this magnifies unsafe feelings and lack of trust in police, especially when that individual is responsible for the safety of all members of the University, regardless of color, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion. At a time when officers should be heightened in their attentiveness to perception by our community, this act seems extremely out of touch with those sentiments and reflects poorly on all of us.

"To regain the trust of our students, and in particular those of color, will be a challenge and will be a priority through continued education, training and conversation," Garcia said.

The costume controversy came after another university police officer, Adam Wilson, was filmed saying, "I'm just going to shoot him if this goes sideways because f**k that," while confronting a black graduate student.

The situation is reportedly still under investigation.

On Oct. 27, students held a rally on campus to show solidarity for Kaepernick and others who had protested against racial injustice.

"A lot of people like to change it to say that it's disrespect to the veterans, disrespect to those who fought for our freedom, disrespect to the flag, but that is not at all what Colin Kaepernick is protesting," said UNR Black Student Organization President Precious Gbenjo. "Colin Kaepernick is protesting police brutality."

Sources: KTVN, KRNV-KRXI via KRNV (2) / Featured Image: Erik Drost/Flickr / Embedded Images: Sinclair Broadcast Group via KRNV, Twitter

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