President Donald Trump is taking credit for ex-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, now a free agent by choice, not yet being signed to a National Football League (NFL) team.
At a rally at the Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky., Trump, a vocal critic of Kaepernick’s protests during the national anthem last season, referenced a report, “Colin Kaepernick Sentenced To NFL Limbo for the Crime of Speaking His Mind,” publishedFriday.
“Some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or [President Donald] Trump will tweet about the team. I’d say that number is around 10 percent. Then there’s another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings,” anAFC general manager said, according to The Bleacher Report.The article anonymously quoted NFL officials talking about Kaepernick’s failing prospects as a free agent.
Trump said on Monday that no one would hire Kaepernick because they feared his disapproval.
“There was an article today, it was reported, that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump,” Trump said.
“I said, ‘If I remember that one I’m gonna report it to the people of Kentucky because they like it when people actually stand for the American flag,'” he said at the rally to promote the Republican Party’s answer to the Affordable Care Act.
But as Trump was criticizing Kaepernick, the football player was making a $50,000 donation to Meals on Wheels, the umbrella organization for 5,000 providers of home-delivered meals for seniors.
On Thursday, the White House released a proposed budget that could lead to a big drop in funding for the organization.
Meals on Wheels tweeted the following on Tuesday:
Meals on Wheels (@_MealsOnWheels) March 21, 2017
The organization said on Saturday that online donations have surged since the budget was revealed.
Kaepernick sparked controversy last year when he knelt during the traditional rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at NFL games, saying it was a protest against racial injustice and police brutality. The protest gained national attention, and NFL players from other teams also began kneeling.
“I think it’s personally not a good thing, I think it’s a terrible thing. And, you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try, it won’t happen,” Trump said in Augustof Kaepernick’s protests.
Meals on Wheels received about $50,000 on Thursday after the budget blueprint was announced, compared with $1,000 on a typical day.
Former President Barack Obama said in September that Kaepernick was exercising his constitutional right by refusing to stand for the national anthem, although he added that the nature of the protest could make it hard for some to hear his message.
This month, Kaepernick opted out of his deal with the 49ers to become a restricted free agent. Hegave up the $14.5 millionin injury guarantees in exchange for a shot at the open market sooner, according to NBC Sports.
Kaepernick said that in the coming season he will end his protest and will stand for the playing of the national anthem. He told ESPN he believes his message about police brutality and social equality has accomplished his mission of starting a conversation.
The football player is also continuing his philanthropy. In addition to his donation to Meals on Wheels, he donated $50,000 this month totheLove Army for Somalia, a social media campaign that’s trying to raise $2 million for food and water for starving people in Somalia.
“I will donate $1 million plus all the proceeds of my jersey sales from the 2016 season to organizations working in oppressed communities $100,000 a month for 10 months,” he said during a press conference in September.
His website,www.Kaepernick7.com, keeps track of his donations. It is currently updated through January.