Here's Why the Internet Just Turned on Colin Kaepernick

November 10th 2016

Willie Burnley Jr.

After he inspired a national movement to sit-out the national anthem in response to the current police brutality and racial injustice in the United States, many people were curious as to whether San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick voted and who he voted for. It turns out he didn’t vote at all.


When asked by reporters on Tuesday if he voted or planned to vote, Kaepernick responded to both questions with a resounding "no." On a Wednesday conference call, he told reporters that to him “it didn't really matter who went in there, the system still remains intact that oppresses people of color," according to USA Today.

His curtness on the question isn’t surprising given how openly dissatisfied he was by both the Democratic and Republican nominees. Kaepernick had previously said that Hillary Clinton called Black teens and children “superpredators” and that the new president-elect was “openly racist.” He claimed that picking between either candidate was “pick[ing] the lesser of two evils.”

Many people, including Sports commentator Stephen A. Smith, were infuriated by his response:

Smith told his ESPN audience that Kaepernick had “betrayed his cause” by not voting.

“For him not to vote, as far as I’m concerned, everything he said meant absolutely nothing,” Smith said.

Kaepernick lives in a state where Clinton beat Trump by over 28 percent and 2.5 million votes. He was also reportedly not the only 49er planning not to vote.

While some believe that this reduces his impact to nil, there are those that point out that there are other means of civic participation, including protest and community participation. Kaepernick has done more than kneel during games. Beyond inspiring the 49ers’ charity foundation to donate $1 million dollars to better racial and economic inequality, Kaepernick has also hosted Know Your Rights camps to teach Black and Latino children how to, in his words, “combat the oppressive issues that our people face on a daily basis.” He has also personally pledged to donate $100,000 a month to underserved communities for ten months.

What is most surprising for some is that by not voting Kaepernick did not exercise his say in terms of California’s U.S. Senate race, its state and local elections, or its ballot initiatives. It’s long been argued that state and local elections are of more or equal importance to the presidential one.