Colin Kaepernick Says He Didn't Vote in 2016 Presidential Election

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist

SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers passes against the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter at Levi's Stadium on November 6, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. The New Orleans Saints defeated the San Francisco 49ers 41-23. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick told reporters last Tuesday he did not plan on voting in the 2016 presidential election.

On Wednesday, Kaepernick was asked if he watched coverage of the election, per Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com, responding he, "really didn't pay too close of attention." He added, "I've been very disconnected from the systematic oppression as a whole. So, for me, it's another face that's going to be the face of that system of oppression. And to me it didn't really matter who went in there, the system still remains intact that oppresses people of color."

On Sunday, Kaepernick further discussed his decision not to vote, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com:

"I think it would be hypocritical for me to vote," Kaepernick said. "I said from the beginning I was against oppression, I was against the system of oppression. I’m not going to show support for that system. And to me, the oppressor isn’t going to allow you to vote your way out of your oppression."

Kaepernick, who has garnered national attention for his protest during the national anthem throughout the NFL season, has been outspoken about his dislike of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and President-elect Donald Trump in the past.

"It was embarrassing to watch that these are our two candidates," Kaepernick told reporters in September. "Both are proven liars and it almost seems like they're trying to debate who's less racist. And at this point...you have to pick the lesser of two evils. But in the end, it's still evil."

Trump has been criticized for a number of racially charged quotes during this election cycle—particularly against people of color. At one point during the primaries, he classified Mexicans as "rapists" and made a series of offensive categorizations regarding black Americans.

Clinton's 1996 comments regarding black teenagers, made during husband Bill Clinton's presidency, have also made the rounds. Most notably, Clinton's use of the phrase "super predators"—a then-prevalent-but-now-debunked myth about black teens—drew criticism, including from Kaepernick.

"You have Hillary who has called black teens or black kids super predators, you have Donald Trump who's openly racist," Kaepernick told reporters in August. 

Kaepernick was also critical of Clinton for her use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State. The FBI investigated Clinton but did not charge her with a crime.

"We have a presidential candidate who has deleted emails and done things illegally and is a presidential candidate," Kaepernick told reporters. "That doesn’t make sense to me because if that was any other person you’d be in prison. So, what is this country really standing for?"

Clinton has since apologized for the "super predator" remark and has garnered support from many notable athletes, including Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James. The reigning Finals MVP introduced Clinton earlier this week in Ohio, an important swing state in the election.

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick wrote a note backing Trump, which Trump read aloud during a speech on Nov. 7 in New Hampshire. 

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