San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick got into an intense debate with a Miami Herald reporter after the QB wore a Fidel Castro/Malcolm X T-shirt during a news conference prior to Sunday’s matchup with the Miami Dolphins.
Kaepernick thrust himself into the national spotlight months ago by kneeling during the national anthem in an attempt to address systematic oppression. However, it was Kaepernick’s T-shirt depicting the 1960 meeting between Malcolm X and Cuba’s Castro that sparked the dustup Wednesday, Nov. 23.
In the clip from the Palm Beach Post, the reporter implies Kaepernick is a hypocrite for wearing a Castro shirt because the dictator oppressed millions during his political reign.
But the QB says that he is not talking about Castro’s oppression. “I’m not talking about Fidel Castro and his oppression. I’m talking about Malcolm X and what he’s done for people.”
Even though the reporter, who was described as a descendant of Cuban exiles, continued to press him, Kaepernick does not shy away. He praises Castro for one of his social initiatives.
“One thing that Fidel Castro did do is they have the highest literacy rate, because they invest more in their education system than they do in their prison system, which we do not do here. Even though we’re fully capable of doing that,” Kaepernick says.
Kaepernick continued to respond to the reporter, while still criticizing America for not being better than Cuba.
“We do break up families here,” the 49ers QB says. “That’s what mass incarceration is. That was the foundation of slavery. So, our country has been based on that as well as the genocide of Native Americans.”
Lastly, the reporter tried to tie the NFL’s lackluster TV ratings with Kaepernick’s protest (the clip does not include this portion.)
“They’re not watching football because of my stance about fighting systematic oppression and wanting the same equality and freedom for all people,” Kaepernick fires back. “I would say they probably need to look in the mirror at what they value. You know, if they’re okay with people being treated unfairly, being abused, being harassed, being terrorized, then the problem is more with what they’re doing in their lives than it is about watching football games.”