Steve King, a Republican congressman from Iowa, equated San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's silent protest of the national anthem to being "sympathetic to ISIS" during an appearance on Newsmax TV on Tuesday.
"I think Colin Kaepernick is representing the San Francisco 49ers when he puts on that uniform," King said. "When he steps out on the stage, the world stage, he's taking advantage of that, and he's undermining patriotism.
"I understand that he has an Islamic girlfriend that is his fiancee and that this has changed him and has taken on some different political views along the way. This is activism that's sympathetic to ISIS."
The complete segment can be viewed below:
On Sept. 7, Kaepernick dispelled rumors he had converted to Islam stemming from his relationship with radio and television host Nessa Diab.
"I have great respect for the religion, know a lot of people that are Muslim and are phenomenal people," Kaepernick said, according to USA Today's Josh Peter. “But I think that [rumor of conversion] comes along with people’s fear of this protest, as well as Islamophobia in this country."
After he sat for the national anthem during the 49ers' first three preseason games, Kaepernick knelt for the team's final exhibition meeting with the San Diego Chargers before doing the same prior to Monday night's 28-0 win over the Los Angeles Rams.
Several other players have joined Kaepernick in his protest against social injustice in recent weeks, including 49ers safety Eric Reid, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane and Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall.
Rams players Robert Quinn and Kenny Britt and New England Patriots teammates Devin McCourty and Martellus Bennett were among those who raised their fists during the national anthem.