On Sept. 20, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick revealed he had received death threats as a result of the national anthem protest movement he started.
“I’ve had a few come my way, but not too concerned about it,” he said during a locker room interview, reports The Mercury News. He said he had received the threats via a “couple different avenues.” He did not alert team security about it.
The 49ers organization confirmed it was not aware of any threats prior to his locker room revelation, reports USA Today Sports. In a statement, team spokesperson Bob Lange said: "The safety of our players, staff and those who visit our facilities are of the utmost importance. We investigate and evaluate any and all security threats and act accordingly."
The Santa Clara Police Department, which has jurisdiction over the area where the team plays and practices, also noted it was not previously aware of the threats. "I can confirm that to this point we haven’t received any reports and aren’t investigating any allegations of threats against Mr. Kaepernick,” said Capt. Wahid Kazem.
Reflecting on the threats, Kaepernick said, “If something like that were to happen, you’ve proved my point and 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.”
He also used the opportunity to condemn the fatal police shooting of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Sept. 16. “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.”
In response to fans who taunted him during the 49ers’ game against the Carolina Panthers in North Carolina on Sept. 18, Kaepernick said:
It’s something they either don’t care about it or they don’t understand it, which I find it very hard that people don’t understand what’s going on. I think the message has been out there loud and clear for quite some time now.
There’s a lot of racism disguised as patriotism in this country and people don’t like to address that and they don’t like to address what the root of this protest is. You have players across this country, not only in the NFL but soccer and NBA and high school players, they don’t like to address this issue that people of color are oppressed and treated unjustly. I don’t know why that is or what they’re scared of, but it needs to be addressed.