Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said that he has been receiving death threats thanks to his ongoing protest of the national anthem to highlight racial injustice in the United States.
Amid the hubbub of an NFL locker room, Kaepernick shrugged off the "few" threats he's received from various sources, saying he's "not too concerned about them," and adding that he hasn't notified the 49ers security about any of them. But that doesn't mean the prospect of violence is far from his mind.
"To me, if something like that were to happen, you've proved my point. And it'll be loud and clear to everyone why it happened. And that would move this movement forward at a greater speed than what it is even now," Kaepernick told the press. "Granted I don't want that to happen, but that's the realization of what could happen. And I knew there were other things that came along with this when I first stood up and spoke about it. So, that's not something I haven't thought about."
Kaepernick also discussed the September 16 shooting of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man whose videotaped death at the hands of Tulsa, OK police officers has prompted widespread condemnation and demands for justice.
Not only did you just kill a black man, you killed a father. So now his kids are going to grow up without that father figure and that's going to change their lives forever. And they're not going to be able to be provided for the same way. That turns into a perpetual cycle where, okay, he was trying to do better. He was coming from a college course. Now at what point do we say 'we need to help these families. We need to do something to make sure that this isn't going to happen continually.'
Kaepernick also had harsh words for the officers responsible for Crutcher's death, saying, "No one went and checked on him, no one tried to resuscitate him. Nothing. They walked around, went about their business and made up lies to cover up the murder they just committed. That’s not right and they should be in prison for that."
When it comes to critics of his protest, and the movement it's inspired, Kaepernick was blunt in his criticism of those who object to his stance.
"There’s a lot of racism disguised as patriotism in this country," he said. "And people don’t like to address that. And they don’t like to address what the root of this protest is."
You can listen to the entire interview, via the Mercury News, below.