San Francisco

San Francisco Police Officers Association Wants Apology From 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick

Organization writes letter to NFL commissioner and 49ers CEO; other law enforcement invite dialogue

Law enforcement agencies across the Bay Area are reacting to 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's reasons for protesting the national anthem, specifically his comments about officer-involved shootings and lack of job training.

On Monday, the San Francisco Police Officers Association wrote a letter to the National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell and 49ers CEO Jed York, requesting an apology from Kaepernick.

"Not only does he show an incredible lack of knowledge regarding our profession and officer-involved shootings, but also shows a naivety and total lack of sensitivity toward police officers," SFPOA President Martin Halloran wrote in the letter. "Ironically, it is those officers who on numerous occasions have protected Mr. Kaepernick."

In addition to asking for an apology from Kaepernick, the SFPOA also invited the 28-year-old quarterback to a training simulation.

Kaepernick sparked the controversy when he decided to stay seated through the national anthem at Friday night's preseason game against the Green Bay Packers.

Also on Monday, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office posted on Facebook an open letter addressed to Kaepernick. The letter requests the quarterback attend its training center in Dublin for an open conversation and inside look into a police academy instruction session, which they said includes use-of-force simulators.

"It would be a great opportunity for him to come out and view what we actually do," sheriff's deputy JD Nelson said.

"We think that dialogue is a good thing," Nelson added. "Are you going to be the person that that goes out and does something about it? Are you going to be the Monday morning quarterback and criticize and do something about it?"

Kaepernick and his teammates on Monday focused on football as they practiced in Santa Clara. The quarterback declined to talk to reporters in the locker room, but his teammates did, mostly avoiding whether they agree or disagree and instead focused on whether the controversy has been a team distraction.

"Our main focus is this team and not letting this divide us, whether you agree with him or not," said Daniel Kilgore, a 49ers offensive lineman. "This team has to stick together. That's our main focus."

University of San Francisco professor of politics James Taylor said Kaepernick's comments shouldn't be shocking, especially in the Bay Area.

"When you look at Tommy Smith and John Carlos; Black Lives Matter, the Oscar Grant movement were all launched here," Taylor said. "I don’t think he should stand out as an isolated person trying to get undue recognition for himself."

During a news conference in front of his locker on Sunday, the San Francisco signal-caller explained why he sat during the national anthem and had choice words for his views on police training.

"You have people that practice law and are lawyers and go to school for eight years, but you can become a cop in six months and don't have to have the same amount of training as a cosmetologist," he said. "That's insane. Someone that's holding a curling iron has more education and training than people that have a gun and are going out on the street to protect us."

Former 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh also called out his former quarterback, tweeting that Kaepernick's motivation is fine, "It's his method of action that I take exception to."

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