Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick is so “controversial” to GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin that they refused to include his name in a resolution to honor prominent Black Americans during February. But for members of the Legislature’s Black caucus, Kaepernick, who was born in Wisconsin, is anything but controversial.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback was the first NFL player in 2016 to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. Kaepernick, along with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and baseball legend Reggie Jackson, are some of the more than two-dozen names suggested by the Black caucus to include in the resolution.
Republicans refused to support a resolution naming Kaepernick “for obvious reasons,” Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke of Kaukauna said during a news conference on Tuesday. He added, “Colin Kaepernick is obviously a controversial figure.”
Steineke and others in the GOP are following the lead of the head of their party, who has called NFL players who kneel during the national anthem “sons of bi***es.”
Kaepernick is currently pursuing a grievance against the NFL. He claims that ever since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in early 2017, team owners and executives have colluded to keep him out of the league.
Wisconsin Republicans initially blocked the Black caucus’ resolution. But then they amended it to delete Kaepernick’s name on a 61-34 party-line vote. Democrats had to decide whether to go against their own resolution or accept it without Kaepernick. They wound up agreeing to remove his name, and the state Assembly passed a resolution on Tuesday.
For the second year in a row, the Republicans, who are all white, in the Wisconsin Legislature objected to how Black lawmakers wanted to honor Black History Month.
One of the Black lawmakers who authored the resolution, Democratic Rep. David Crowley of Milwaukee, called the incident “a textbook example of white privilege.”
Wisconsin’s population is 87.3 percent white, a much less diverse population than average.
Crowley also said that Kaepernick, who is a philanthropist, was included, in part, because he gave a $25,000 donation to a nonprofit for teens in Milwaukee called Urban Underground.
Rep. Shelia Stubbs (D-Madison) tweeted on Tuesday:
Beyond outrageous that we, as the Legislative Black Caucus, had to get the permission of our white colleagues to pass our Black History Month resolution. We still stand with @Kaepernick7 https://t.co/Yt4eczrO2F
Shelia Stubbs (@RepStubbs) February 12, 2019
State Sen. Lena Taylor said on Wednesday, that she would offer an amendment to include Kaepernick to the resolution.
.@SenTaylor tells @CBS58 she will be request the Senate to amend the #BlackHistoryMonth resolution to include the name of Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7). The Assembly passed the resolution yesterday that took out any mention of Kaepernick. The Senate takes it up this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/q7lC8OS3RC
Victor Jacobo (@victorjacobo_) February 13, 2019