Colin Kaepernick is under fire in the figurative sense and needs no help imagining the literal consequences of his stance on social issues.
The San Francisco 49ers quarterback revealed to reporters Tuesday that he has received death threats in response to his ongoing protest against police violence and the oppression of minorities in the United States, according to ESPN’s Nate Wagoner. Kaepernick said someone carrying out their hate against him would propel the movement he supports in a forward direction.
“To me, if something like that were to happen, you’ve proved my point, and it will be loud and clear for everyone why it happened, and that would move this movement forward at a greater speed than what it is even now,” Kaepernick said, according to ESPN. “Granted, I don’t want that to happen, but that’s the realization of what could happen, and I knew there were other things that came along with this when I first stood up and spoke about it. That’s not something I haven’t thought about.”
Kaepernick has sat and knelt during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to games during the preseason and the current NFL season. Other players have followed suit, but he remains the most high-profile protester in the NFL.
Kaepernick received death threats via “a couple of different avenues,” other than social media and said he didn’t alert 49ers security or law enforcement officials.
A spokesman for the police department of Santa Clara, Calif. — the city in which the 49ers practice and play home games — told USA TODAY on Tuesday that local law enforcement isn’t currently investigating threats against Kaepernick.
“I can confirm that to this point we haven’t received any reports and aren’t investigating any allegations of threats against Mr. Kaepernick,” Capt. Wahid Kazem said.
The San Francisco field office of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation told USA TODAY that it would follow the Santa Clara Police Department’s lead but didn’t rule out taking action on its own.
The 49ers told USA TODAY that they intend to investigate the threats against Kaepernick but wouldn’t reveal specific security measures they could take to protect him.
While most were aware Kaepernick’s actions come with great personal risk, few could sense its scale … until now.
Thumbnail photo via Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports Images