The San Francisco 49ers lost the game this past Sunday, Nov. 27 against The Miami Dolphins 24-31 after quarterback Colin Kaepernick was tackled by Ndamukong Suh and Kiko Alonso, who- in an ironic twist that has left people calling it “poetic justice,”- is the son of a Cuban exile.
Kaepernick was met with boos over the weekend during the game that was held in Miami- a city that is home to millions of Cuban exiles who have fled Castro’s dictatorship- at the city’s Hard Rock Stadium after he praised Cuban dictator Fidel Castro mere days before his death Friday, Nov. 25.
During a teleconference call with several South Florida reporters Wednesday,
Nov. 23 Miami Herald columnist and Cuban exile Armando Salguero questioned Kaepernick’s decision to wear a T-shirt that featured the dictator.
Back in August, Kaepernick gained national attention after he decided to kneel for the national anthem during an NFL game to protest against the “systematic oppression” that could still be found in the United States. After the game, during a customary press conference, Kaepernick said he was taking a stand against oppression and that he wanted “freedom for all people” while wearing a shirt that featured Malcolm X’s and Castro’s 1960 meeting.
“I wore a Malcolm X shirt,” Kaepernick responded to Salguero. “I am a believer in Malcolm X and his ideology and what he talked about and what he believed in as far as fighting oppression.”
The shirt, Salguero responded, also had Castro. Does this mean you support his oppressive tyranny, he asked.
Kaepernick said he wore the shirt for Malcolm X, not Castro and that Malcolm X’s willingness to meet with Castro showed how open-minded he was.
“The fact he [Malcolm X] met with Fidel to me speaks to his open mind to be willing to hear different aspects of people’s views and ultimately being able to create his own views as far as the best way to approach different situations, different cultures,” Kaepernick said.
His focus, he said, is not on Castro’s oppressive rule but on the good Malcolm X did for the people. But, Castro, he said, has also done some good things.
“One thing Fidel Castro did do is they [Cuba] 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 said.
Salguero, in a scalding opinion piece, called Kaepernick a “fraud” and a “hypocrite” for his stances on Castro’s regime and how he could be “so ignorant to facts not up for debate,” such as Kaepernick’s comparison of how families are broken up in Cuba and the United States.
According to Kaepernick, while Castro did break up Cuban exile families, the U.S. is also guilty of this, because of its mass incarceration.
“That was the foundation of slavery,” he said. “So our country has been based on that as well as the genocide of native Americans.”
“My family breaking up because my parents wanted me to be free is not the same as, for example, a father of two in the United States committing a crime and being away from his kids because he was convicted and is serving time,” Salguero wrote in his op-ed. Yet Kaepernick, he said, responded with “equating the breaking up of families with the breaking up of families.”
Sunday, after the game, Kaepernick tried to clarify his comments that have developed into what he calls a “false narrative” about his support towards Castro’s oppression.
“What I said was I agree with the investment in education. I also agree with the investment in free universal healthcare, as well as the involvement in (Castro) helping end apartheid in South Africa,” he said. “I would hope everybody agrees those things are good things…that I was a supporter of the oppressive things that he did is just not true.”
He understands the concerns members of South Florida may have had with his comments, he said, but he’s not “going to cut out pieces of Malcolm X’s life.”
“In 1960 when they met in Harlem that was a historic moment. I’ll always be true to what Malcolm represented and I’m not going to cut out parts of history,” he said.
Kiko Alonso, according to the Conservative Tribune, told Salguero after the game that even though he didn’t read his article, he saw what happened and it did cause him to have “some bad blood there for me with Kaepernick.”
His father, the tribune reports, thought Kaepernick was immature and had “no clue” about Castro’s legacy.
“I got interviewed earlier about what I thought of him [Kaepernick] and I said it’s about immaturity,” Carlos Alonso said. “He doesn’t know about the suffering the Cuban people have had. He doesn’t have a clue…He still has no clue what a ruthless killer of the Cuban people this guy [Castro] was.”
To hear the full dispute between Kaepernick and Salguero, click here.
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