The union for the police force that patrols San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium threatened to not work home games over Colin Kaepernick’s continued protest of the national anthem, according to a published report.
The Santa Clara Police Officers’ Association said if the 49ers failed to take action against Kaepernick’s pregame protest, officers could respond by “choosing not to work at your facilities,” according to a letter written by union members obtained by NBC Bay Area. About 70 Santa Clara police officers staff home games.
Santa Clara Police Department spokesperson Lt. Dan Moreno told USA TODAY Sports in a text message that the agency would issue a response to the letter on Saturday.
— New Day (@NewDay) September 2, 2016
The 49ers are scheduled to open the season at Levi Stadium against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, Sept. 12 as part of a national television doubleheader.
Kaepernick was photographed Wednesday wearing socks that displayed cartoon pigs wearing police hats. He said he has worn them before, but this time the socks grabbed national attention, coming just five days after it also became known that he has chosen to sit during the national anthem before 49ers’ games.
The socks — along with Kaepernick’s comments on police brutality — were mentioned in the letter.
“It was learned by the members of the SCPOA that the 49er organization has been allowing Mr. Kaepernick to wear exposed socks with the image of a pig wearing a police hat during practices at the training camp in Santa Clara,” the union said in the letter. “Photos of Mr. Kaepernick wearing these socks with the derogatory image have been broadcast nationally.”
The 49ers, according to the report, said Friday they continue to stand behind the statement they first made when Kaepernick’s protest was first publicized.
In that statement, the team said “In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”