Compiled by MCJ Editorial Staff
Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who protested police shootings of Black Americans by kneeling during the National Anthem, had his name removed from a Black History Month resolution Tuesday by Republican members of the Wisconsin state Assembly.
Republican legislators blocked the measure until Black Democratic lawmakers agreed to remove the quarterback’s name. The resolution honors prominent Black Americans. Milwaukee Democratic Rep. David Crowley, who authored the resolution, called the action by the Republicans “a textbook example of White privilege” and a “slap in the face.”
Kaepernick, who was born in Milwaukee, drew a firestorm of controversy after he began kneeling during the 2016 NFL season while a player with the San Francisco 49ers. Supporters say Kaepernick was exercising his First Amendment right to protest what he sees as racial injustice. Critics say he is denigrating the American flag and American principles.
Crowley said Kaepernick was included by the legislature’s Black lawmakers—along with more than two dozen notable Black history makers such as former U.S. Secretary Condoleezza Rice and baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson—because, in part, he donated $25,000 to Milwaukee nonprofit Urban Underground, a Milwaukee organization that works with teens.
But Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke of Kaukauna reportedly said Republicans wouldn’t support the resolution that included Kaepernick “for obvious reasons,” referring to the former quarterback’s protests during the National Anthem.
Democratic Rep. LaKeshia Myers of Milwaukee argued Kaepernick “decided to take on ownership of a problem that he saw, which was police brutality.”
“Whether you dislike the method that he used, understand that it is a part of America’s DNA — not just African Americans’ protest,” Myers reportedly said. She was the lone vote against the altered resolution.
But Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Steineke said the caucus wanted a resolution free of controversial figures so the entire body could support it. “I think it’s important to recognize the contributions of literally thousands and thousands of African Americans to our state’s history but also trying to find people who, again, bring us together. Not look at people who draw some sort of vitriol from either side,” Vos said.
—Source for this story: USA Today