Colin Kaepernick's protest against police brutality, which included wearing socks depicting police officers as pigs, could lead to Santa Clara, California, police boycotting San Francisco 49ers home games in 2016.
Philip Lewis of Mic provided photos of Kaepernick's socks from a practice earlier in the preseason:
Per Ian Cull and Brendan Weber of NBC Bay Area, the Santa Clara police union sent the 49ers a letter asking them to take action against Kaepernick or else "it could result in police officers choosing not to work at your facilities."
Santa Clara Police Department Chief Michael Sellers released a statement on Sept. 3:
The SCPOA suggested that if the 49ers did not address [Kaepernick's] behavior, members of the union might choose to not work Levi's Stadium events.
Many of us in the law enforcement community have been saddened and angered by Kaepernick's words and actions. His blanket statements disparaging the law enforcement profession are hurtful and do not help bring the country together. As distasteful as his actions are, these actions are protected by the Constitution. Police officers are here to protect the rights of every person, even if we disagree with their position. Police officers have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution.
In Santa Clara we are fortunate to have excellent police-community relations that are built on trust and mutual respect. We have gone to great lengths to engage with our community to listen and understand their needs. As the Chief of Police, I am committed to continuing the relationships we have with our residents.
The men and women of the Santa Clara Police Department are highly trained and professional law enforcement officers. The safety of our community is our highest priority. I will urge the POA leadership to put the safety of our citizens first. I will work with both sides to find a solution. In the meantime, I will ensure we continue to provide a safe environment at Levi’s Stadium.
On Thursday, the Santa Clara police union asked its officers to voluntarily work 49ers home games, per NBC Bay Area.
Kaepernick explained the message behind his socks in an Instagram post:
Cull and Weber noted approximately 70 police officers provide security during each 49ers home game.
The letter went on to state that "the board of directors of the Santa Clara Police Officer's Association has a duty to protect its members and work to make all of their workings environments free of harassing behavior."
Kaepernick has engaged in a silent protest during preseason games by not standing during the national anthem. He was photographed sitting on the bench prior to an Aug. 26 game against the Green Bay Packers.
During Thursday's preseason finale against the San Diego Chargers, Kaepernick got down on a knee during the anthem to protest. He explained after the game that he has "the utmost respect" for the men and women of the military, per USA Today's Josh Peter.
It’s just ridiculous that the same league that prohibits the Dallas (Cowboys) football club from honoring the slain officers in their community with their uniforms stands silent when Kaepernick is dishonoring police officers with what he’s wearing on the field.
I think the league is in a downward spiral regarding their obligations to the public under (Commissioner) Roger Goodell.
Kaepernick also said after Thursday's game he would be working with organizations in communities in need and donate $1 million of his 2016 salary to help those organizations.
The 49ers will open the 2016 season at home Sept. 12 against the Los Angeles Rams.