Recent high-profile incidents of police brutality are what San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said sparked his refusal to stand during the national anthem, a peaceful protest he's been engaged in since the start of the NFL preseason.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick said. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Despite its noble cause, Kaepernick's protest has been controversial. In fact, high-profile critics—from model Kate Upton to Republican Congressman Steve King—have used their platforms to admonish Kaepernick. In light of the recent killing of Terence Crutcher, yet another unarmed black man gunned down by police, many on Twitter have pointed out the relative silence of Kaepernick's critics on the matter.
So, Complex scoured the Twitter accounts of Kaepernick's most prominent detractors. Here’s what they’re saying in the days since Crutcher was killed— or rather, what they’re not saying.
On September 11, the swimsuit model said of protesting the national anthem: “This is unacceptable. You should be proud to be an American. Especially on 9/11 when we should support each other.” She hasn’t tweeted since September 15. It's probably for the best.
"I disagree. I wholeheartedly disagree," Brees told ESPN, speaking on Kaepernick's protest in late August. "Not that he wants to speak out about a very important issue. No, he can speak out about a very important issue. But there's plenty of other ways that you can do that in a peaceful manner that doesn't involve being disrespectful to the American flag." As of press time, he was tweeting to sell raffle tickets.
“When it comes to the National Anthem and the flag, I think it stands for something different,"Roethlisberger said August 30. "You know, like you said, family, brothers, my grandfather served in the Navy—people that have served this country—men and women who’ve lost their lives...to me that’s the National Anthem we stand and support because they give us the freedom to play this game. We are so, so lucky to play a game that we love...and that’s because we have the freedom that soldiers have given us.”
The quarterback hasn't tweeted since August 27 or made any public comment about police brutality, including the incident in which Terence Crutcher was killed.
"Listen, I understand what you’re trying to do. But understand, take the flag out of it. I have uncles," was Lewis' public advice to Kaepernick early this month. "I got brothers who walked out my house going into the military that said, 'I will never see you again.' To understand that, I will always respect that part of what our patriotism should be, right?" The morning that news of Terence Crutcher's killing broke, Lewis shared an inspirational quote. Only football-related retweets since.
“This is a backup quarterback whose job it is to be quiet and sit in the shadows," said Dilfer, an ESPN analyst and former quarterback, said on the September 11 episode of his show. "Yet he chose a time when all of a sudden he became the center of attention. And it has disrupted that organization."
Dilfer isn't prolific on Twitter, having not tweeted since September 12. Four days since Crutcher was killed, it doesn't seem he'll be breaking his silence to address the shooting.
“All lives matter. So much going on in this world today. Can we all just get along! Colin, I respect your stance but don't disrespect the Flag," Rice tweeted late last month. He's been tweeting a lot more since, but not about Terence Crutcher. Mostly about football.
“I don’t know Colin, but to each his own," O'Neal said during a visit to "Fox and Friends" early this month. "I don’t really have a say on it, but I would never do that. My father was a military man, and he protected this country. Uncles are in law enforcement, they go out and work hard every day. Just, you know — other ways to get your point across.” The basketball star hasn’t tweeted since September 18 or made any public statement on the Crutcher case.
The Detroit rocker kept it short at a recent show at Fenway Park: “Fuck Colin Kaepernick.” In the days since Crutcher was killed and footage of the incident surfaced, Rock has been promoting his shows.
Rep. Steve King
"This is activism that’s sympathetic to ISIS," the bizarre congressman from Iowa said of Kaepernick's protest. King hasn’t tweeted since September 18.