Colin Kaepernick: ‘It would be hypocritical of me to vote’
(CNN) — Colin Kaepernick did not vote in last week’s presidential election, saying at the time that it didn’t matter to him who won.
On Sunday, after the San Francisco 49ers lost 23-20 to the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, Arizona, Kaepernick defended his action.
“You know, I think it would be hypocritical of me to vote,” Kaepernick told reporters. “I said from the beginning I was against oppression, I was against the system of oppression. I’m not going to show support for that system. And to me, the oppressor isn’t going to allow you to vote your way out of your oppression.”
Kaepernick, who is biracial, became a lightning rod late this summer during the NFL preseason when he refused to stand during the US national anthem, saying he didn’t want to “show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” His sitting — which later turned to kneeling — sparked a national movement. Other athletes — from elementary schools to professional sports teams — began following his lead.
One of the most recent examples of athletic social activism came Sunday. Ahead of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ home game against the Chicago Bears, Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans refused to stand for the national anthem in response to Donald Trump winning the presidential election. He said after the game that his reason for not standing was different than Kaepernick’s.
“It’s not about the Republican party or Democratic party or anything like that,” Evans said. “It’s just who he is. It’s well-documented what he’s done. I’m not going to stand for something I don’t believe in.”
However, in a statement Tuesday, Evans said he has changed his mind about how he’ll show his frustration and promised to work for change.
“I have very strong emotions regarding some of the many issues that exist in our society today. I chose to sit as an expression of my frustration towards this year’s election. It was very personal for me, as it was for so many Americans,” he said in a statement released by the Bucs.
“With that being said, I will not sit again during the National Anthem because I want to focus my efforts on finding more effective ways to communicate my message and bring about change by supporting organizations and movements that fight for equal rights for minorities. This Sunday, I will be back to standing with my teammates.”
Evans also apologized to US service members and their families who may have been offended by his actions Sunday.
Kaepernick has said that he has received death threats for his actions. He also has come under fire from the President-elect himself, as Trump called out the NFL quarterback during his campaign.
As a follow-up question on Sunday, Kaepernick was asked that if there was more of a sense of urgency with his cause now that Trump has been elected.
“I think everybody should feel urgency, to make sure we’re doing the right thing, building things the right way, in order to be able to protect ourselves from the things that may come from this,” Kaepernick said.