Call out to Colin Kaepernick: Come Walk in Our Shoes
Reprinted from a PubSecAlliance email, August 30, 2016
Editor’s note: Following the refusal of San Francisco 49er football player, Colin Kaepernick, to stand during a recent game when the national anthem was played, Marty Halloran, president of the San Francisco POA, wrote the letter below to Roger Goodell, Kaepernick, and Jed York, the president and CEO of the team.
To: Mr, Goodell, Mr. York and Mr. Kaepernick:
It is with great disappointment to us, the San Francisco Police Officers Association, that we are compelled to communicate with you regarding the recent ill-advised statements made by your employee, Colin Kaepernick.
While we certainly acknowledge Mr. Kaepernick’s first amendment right to remain seated during the National Anthem, as inappropriate as that may be, we will not stand by while he attacks police officers in this country with statements such as, “People are on paid leave while people of color are killed.”
Not only does he show an incredible lack of knowledge regarding our profession and “officer involved” shootings, but also shows a naivete and total lack of sensitivity towards police officers. Ironically it is those officers who on numerous occasions have protected Mr. Kaepernick and have ensured that the venues where the NFL holds its events are fully protected.
I only wish Mr. Kaepernick could see the emotional and psychological challenges that our officers face following a fatal encounter. Some are so affected they never return to the streets. In short, Mr. Kaepernick has embarrassed himself, the 49er organization, and the NFL based on a false narrative and misinformation that lacks any factual basis.
Perhaps Mr. Kaepernick could comment on the murder of 40 police officers in the United States in the past few months, or the assaults perpetrated on over 100,000 law enforcement officers in the past year. Perhaps he could lend his commentary to the over 8,000 murders that African Americans inflicted on one another in 2015. The law enforcement community cannot be continuously blamed for all of society’s problems, including racial divide in our country. It isn’t fair and it isn’t true.
While the San Francisco POA acknowledges Mr. Kaepernick’s right to speak his point of view and we stand by that right, we also recognize your organization’s ability to denounce his foolish statements and separate yourself from his actions.
As a gesture to build communication and understanding about the law enforcement profession, we are extending an open invitation to Mr. Kaepernick and to any player or employee from the National Football League to visit the San Francisco PD Academy and partake in any of the simulations and training exercises that recruits participate in during their training. This will hopefully expose them to a very small fraction of what officers experience daily on the streets of our city.
Until then we hope your organizations choose to do the right thing and at least apologize to the many police officers Mr. Kaepernick has disrespected for no apparent reason.
Martin Halloran is the president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association. The San Francisco POA is a founding member of PubSecAlliance.