Colin Kaepernick got booed hard in Miami on Sunday for making a series of unpopular comments about Cuba's educational system under Fidel Castro to the Miami Herald. And after the 49ers lost to the Dolphins 31-24, he said his words were taken out of context while speaking with reporters at his post-game press conference.
"What I said was I agree with the investment in education," Kaepernick said. "I also agree with the investment in free universal health care, as well as the involvement in helping end apartheid in South Africa...Trying to push the false narrative that I was a supporter of the oppressive things [Castro] did is just not true. I said I support the investment in education, I never said I support the oppressive things he did."
On Monday morning, the ESPN First Take crew spent about 10 minutes discussing Kaepernick's comments, and while the majority of that time was spent by Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman, moderator Molly Qerim, who is half-Albanian, got emotional at one point and provided her position on Kaepernick's comments.
"One thing that he pointed out was Fidel Castro invested in their education system and they have high literacy rates, which they do," Qerim said. "But he also controlled what they were able to read. And they didn't have internet access. And he talked about our prison system. And yes, it's flawed, and it's broken. And how it separates families. Fidel Castro also separated families. I don't know what it's like to be Cuban-American but I know what it's like to have family under Communism and to get up early in the morning and send medical supplies, and try to send food, and try to send money and have it intervened and them calling and crying on the phone."
Qerim continued by calling for Kaepernick to learn more about Castro before speaking on him. "What this man did, Fidel Castro, is he oppressed his people for nearly six decades," she said. "That legacy is firing squads, it's poverty, it's denying human rights. And last I checked Cuban-Americans are people of color, so I understand when you are talking about African-Americans and how there is some sympathy with what [Castro] did with apartheid, which I understand. But these are also people of color so when [Kaepernick] is going to go out and speak on these subjects he can’t have that surface level knowledge. It is so ill-informed, it's so insensitive, and it's so disrespectful."
You can watch the entire First Take segment on Kaepernick's comments in the clip above. Qerim begins offering her opinion on them at around the 8-minute mark.