San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has become the face of athletes working for social justice. He’s already done plenty of work, such as organizing a camp for kids in the Bay Area to learn about their rights and donating plenty to the cause.
But it surprised some – especially those that disagree with his stance – when he made it clear that he didn’t vote in the 2016 elections.
Many felt that he missed an opportunity to back up all of his claims of oppression by not going to the polls and wasn’t leading a good example for the people that have supported him.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith went on the airwaves with his hot take of the day last week and called him ” a flaming hypocrite.”
"For him not to vote…as far as I'm concerned, everything he said meant absolutely nothing!"
— First Take (@FirstTake) November 9, 2016
“After all this noise that you made, even though you didn’t intended to do so, by offending our military service men and women, and pointing out about how you wanted to bring attention to racial injustices and beyond in this country, to turn around and not even take your behind to the polls to vote for a particular candidate, it is shameful! Absolutely shameful!” Smith said.
Given Donald Trump’s election, many people have been searching for someone to blame. Whether it be Trump supporters, third party voters or non-voters. Unfortunately, Kaepernick fell into the latter category and was called out for it for nearly a week before responding.
“You know, I think it would be hypocritical of me to vote,” Kaepernick told reporters, according to CNN. “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’s reasoning isn’t exactly a rarity in an election where many felt that they had to choose between a poor option and a horrible option. He’s not the only NFL player who expressed their disappointment recently, either.
Mike Evans, a wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, sat during the National Anthem before his most recent game, but stated that he wouldn’t continue the practice just a couple of days after.
“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,” Evans said in a statement released by the team.
“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.”