The United States Navy is looking into a troubling incident involving the use of a “Colin Kaepernick stand-in” at a K-9 event in Florida last year. Video surfaced over the weekend of attack dogs lunging at a padded man in a Kaepernick 49ers jersey in front of onlookers at the Navy Seals Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida. After being subdued by the dogs and armed military personnel, the man said, “Oh, man, I will stand,” which drew laughter from the audience.
Kaepernick has largely been exiled from the NFL since kneeling for the national anthem in 2016, only eliciting mild interest from teams despite posting a superb 88.9 quarterback rating with 85 touchdowns (72 passing, 13 rushing) over six seasons in San Francisco. That included a trip to Super Bowl XLVII, which the Niners ultimately lost to Baltimore.
Despite being labeled by many as unpatriotic, Kaepernick’s movement has gained greater acceptance of late with societal norms changing amid Black Lives Matter. Entire teams knelt for the national anthem upon the NBA’s return last weekend while a number of baseball players and even a manager (outspoken Giants skipper Gabe Kapler) have done the same, all without facing anywhere near the repercussions that Kaepernick encountered years earlier. In recent remarks, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he’d “encourage” teams to sign Kaepernick, though obviously that has yet to transpire.
“The inherent message of this video is completely inconsistent with the values and ethos of Naval Special Warfare and the U.S. Navy,” said the U.S. Navy Seals in a statement posted to Twitter. According to the Associated Press, “initial indications” are that no active duty officers were involved in the demonstration. The Navy also made clear the fundraiser was put on by an “independent organization” with no direct ties to the military.