It all started when filmmaker and activist Spike Lee posted information earlier today about a rally that will take place August 23 at the NFL’s New York City headquarters in support of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback.
Kaepernick remains unsigned amid perceptions that the NFL blacklisted him after he made headlines for staying seated during the singing of national anthem last summer.
When asked why he refused to stand, Kaepernick replied: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
The NFL issued a statement shortly afterward saying that players are “encouraged but not required to stand” during the anthem, but Kaepernick’s protest immediately drew criticism from football fans as well as his fellow sportsmen. Kaepernick has since chosen activism over the NFL, and has used his celebrity to draw attention to U.S. race relations and police brutality.
Although Lee did not organize the rally himself, he acknowledges that he fully supports Kaepernick. Nevertheless, news of the rally found its way to conservative pundit Tomi Lahren, who slammed the athlete, whom she perceives as anti-law enforcement.
Lahren's comments were met with an immediate resistance on social media. Some, like the Twitter users below, took her to task for her support of President Donald Trump's suggestion to ban transgender individuals from military service.
If you stood for us you keep our service out of your mouth. Bashing trans troops but claim you support troops? Don't waste our time— Stephen Hall (@StocksAllUp) August 8, 2017
He's not allowed to take a knee for injustice? You clearly don't stand with transgender service members!— Krissy ✌ (@KrissySD) August 8, 2017
Others also took her to task for her statement.
I'm a veteran and I'll take Kaepernick's honest protest any day over your dishonest muck raking.— Rik Van Horn (@Rokkr1) August 8, 2017
Tomi, if you had even a sliver of empathy for minorities who face oppression & police brutality on the daily, maybe you'd support him.— Sonia Singh (@SoniaSingh787) August 8, 2017
You realize you can support police AND have them held accountable for illegal acts right? Of course you don't it isnt in your talking points— General E. Watch (@d_butternubbs) August 8, 2017
This isn't the first time Lahren has accused Kaepernick of propagating violent, anti-cop rhetoric. In June, she expressed her disdain for the message below, which Kaepernick issued as a condemnation of a Minnesota jury which Officer Jeronimo Yanez of all charges in the shooting of Philando Castile. The shooting made national headlines after Castille’s fiance, Diamond Reynolds, live-streamed the bloody aftermath on Facebook. According to Reynolds, Castille told the officer he had a firearm he was licensed to carry. The officer shot him as he reached into his pocket for his wallet and identification. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension released mere days after the acquittal.
Lahren's response followed a few days later.
Her comments were met with similar disapproval.
I imagine someone like Philando Castile, a man who committed no crime and a gun owner well within his 2nd Amendment rights might disagree.— Ian Fortey (@IanFortey) June 21, 2017
are YOU kidding me? Even those "holding the line" make fatal mistakes that are criminal & they should be held accountable.— Lauren (@laurenbamaw) June 21, 2017
On her show last summer, she referred to Kaepernick's protest as "," and called him a "whiny, indulgent, attention-seeking cry baby" for using his celebrity to bring attention to systemic racism––while insisting that she supports his First Amendment rights.