Police in Santa Clara, Calif., have threatened to stop securing Levi’s Stadium during games as long as quarterback Colin Kaepernick continues to protest during the national anthem, NBC Bay Area reports.
“I’m already hearing it this week that next week on ‘Monday Night Football,’ some officers are not going to work,” Frank Saunders, president of the Santa Clara Police Officers Association, said via NBC.
If the police officers, who make up one-third of the force that secures the stadium choose not to work, the team will be pressed to quickly hire more security personnel.
Saunders said the officers aren’t just upset that Kaepernick refuses to stand for the national anthem, but because the 28-year-old quarterback says he’s not standing to protest police killings. Kaepernick, who is a vocal member of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, said after last Friday’s game that as long as “there are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder” he won’t stand.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media after last Friday’s game against the Green Bay Packers when he sat during the national anthem. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.”
On Thursday, Kaepernick again protested, this time by kneeling during the anthem.
According to Saunders, however, Kaepernick’s protests are doing more harm than good.
“The 49ers are allowing this to come out from an employee and it’s making for a hostile work environment for us at the stadium,” Saunders said.
The 49ers have taken a neutral stance on Kaepernick’s protests, neither condemning nor lauding his actions, but simply saying he’s free to do what he wants.
The national anthem “is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens,” the team said in a statement (via NFL.com). “In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”