The Navy SEALs are ending their relationship with the NAVY Seal Museum after videos of a demonstration at the museum showing dogs attacking a man wearing a Colin Kaepernick jersey went viral over the weekend.
"Each and every one of us serves to protect our fellow Americans—ALL Americans. Even the perception that our commitment to serving the men and women of this nation is applied unevenly is destructive," Rear Admiral Collin Green said in an email, per James LaPorta of the Associated Press.
The videos, which were originally taken in January 2019, show trained dogs attacking and taking down a man who was wearing a Kaepernick jersey. In one of the demonstrations, the man wearing the jersey says "Oh man, I will stand," in an obvious nod to Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem. Those in attendance laughed at the distasteful joke.
"While the museum is an independent non-profit organization and the participants were contracted employees from outside the DoD, in many ways, these facts are irrelevant. We have been inextricably linked to this organization that represents our history," Green said.
"We may not have contributed to the misperception in this case, but we suffer from it and will not allow it to continue."
The museum is a nonprofit which is not overseen by the military and is located in Fort Pierce, Florida.
Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial injustice in 2016. His form of protest became a source of national controversy, with some feeling he was disrespecting military members. However, Kaepernick said several times he was not protesting the flag or military members and consulted with Army Green Beret Nate Boyer on his form of protest.
No NFL team has signed Kaepernick since he opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers, rather than be released, after the 2016 season. He settled a collusion lawsuit against the NFL last year, in which he claimed league owners blackballed him for protesting during the anthem.
In the aftermath of nationwide protests after the death of George Floyd, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted the league was wrong in attempting to quell peaceful protests. Goodell also said he hopes a team signs Kaepernick.