Sports

After Mulling Boycott, Santa Clara Police Plan To Protect Kaepernick, 49ers Game

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Ted Goodman Contributor
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The Santa Clara Police Department will staff the San Francisco 49ers home opener game Monday night, carrying on “business as usual,” according to reports.

“I haven’t heard of anybody refusing to work because of Kaepernick,” police spokesman Lt. Dan Moreno told USA Today Sports Wednesday. Additionally, the Santa Clara police chief assured the public that security for the game would be unaffected if some officers chose not to work the game.

The dramatic saga began when San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick did not stand during the national anthem at a pre-season football game Aug. 26. It ignited a national debate concerning respect for the flag, First Amendment rights, and law enforcement relations with minority communities.

“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 explained to NFL Media, adding that, “there are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Kaepernick’s comments incensed many in the law enforcement community.

The head of San Francisco’s police union blasted Kaepernick in an open letter for his “ill-advised statements” and “total lack of sensitivity towards police officers.”

Criticism from members of the military, law enforcement and NFL fans reached a fever-pitch after members of the media noticed that Kaepernick had been wearing practice socks in training camp that depict police officers as pigs.

The embattled quarterback’s choice to wear such disparaging socks sparked the Santa Clara police union to release an open letter to 49ers management, which stated that its members could opt out of voluntary security detail for the 49ers games, which are played at Levi’s Stadium.

“If the 49ers organization fails to take action to stop this type of inappropriate behavior [wearing pig-cop sock], it could result in police officers choosing not to work at your facilities,” the letter stated.

NFL stadiums are generally protected by an array of law enforcement agencies and private security firms. Games are considered city special events, and usually police officers are able to sign up for the extra shifts in order to supplement their income. At 49ers games, up to 70 officers and an additional 50 part-time or retired law enforcement members secure the stadium and surrounding grounds on game days.

The San Francisco 49ers host the Los Angeles Rams Monday night to kick off their NFL season. Kaepernick will dress for the game as the back-up quarterback after the team named Blaine Gabbert as starter.

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