SAN JOSE, Calif. (CBS13/AP) – The union for police officers who work San Francisco home games says its members may boycott policing the stadium if the 49ers don’t discipline Colin Kaepernick for refusing to stand during the national anthem and for his statements about law enforcement.
A letter from the Santa Clara Police Officers Association sent to the 49ers was obtained by CBS13 on Friday.
It says that Kaepernick’s protest has “threatened our harmonious working relationship” with the 49ers. About 70 officers from the Santa Clara Police Department patrol Levi’s Stadium when the 49ers play there.”
“If the 49ers organization fails to take action to stop this type of inappropriate behavior it could result in police officers choosing not to work at your facilities,” the letter reads. “The board of directors of the Santa Clara Police Officer’s Association has a duty to protect its members and work to make all of their working environments free of harassing behavior.”
It also criticized what it called anti-police statements made by Kaepernick, calling them “insulting, inaccurate and completely unsupported by any facts.”
A San Francisco 49ers spokesman says the team continues to stand by the statement issued earlier this week.
The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. 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.”
The Santa Clara Police Department has recently come under fire in a civil rights lawsuit over the arrest of a teenager.
It’s the latest in the flurry of heated responses – both negative and positive – that Kaepernick has gotten since his silent protest became the talk of the NFL and much of the nation last week.
The quarterback has refused to stand for the anthem at the team’s preseason games, most recently taking a knee a game in San Diego on Thursday night, to some boos from the crowd.
He has cited racial injustice and police brutality among the many reasons for his protest.
“The message is that we have a lot of issues in this country that we need to deal with,” Kaepernick said after Thursday night’s game.
Teammate Eric Reid joined him in the most recent protest and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane showed his support for Kaepernick by sitting on the bench during the anthem in Oakland on Thursday.
Kaepernick has said he plans to continue into the regular season.
While negative reactions have been strong, Kaepernick also has been widely praised for his commitment to his stance. Veterans and military members tweeted their support for Kaepernick in recent days under the hashtag “VeteransForKaepernick.”
The team reiterated Friday night that it stands behind Kaepernick and respects his right not to participate in celebrating the national anthem.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.
COMPLETE LETTER FROM SANTA CLARA POLICE OFFICERS’ ASSOCIATION
The members of the Santa Clara Police Officers’ Association (SCPOA) have a long history of working with the San Francisco 49ers organization. This relationship was greatly expanded with the construction of Levi’s stadium. Our officers and 49 employees have worked incredibly well together to create a safe and enjoyable environment for guests and employees. This partnership has made Levi’s stadium the premiere sports venue in the world as evident in the extremely successful Super Bowl 50 operation.
Unfortunately, some recent actions by a 49ers employee have threatened our harmonious working relationship. On August 26, 2016, prior to the start of the 49er pre-season football game at Levi’s stadium, on-duty 49er employee Colin Kaepernick made the decision to exercise his right of free expression and not stand to honor the National Anthem. This expression caught the attention of the media. Following the game, your employee explained to the media that his actions were an attempt to get public attention to the oppression of African-Americans and minorities in the United States by police officers. Your employee then insinuated the police officers are being placed on paid leave for murdering minorities. This statement is obviously insulting, inaccurate and completely unsupported by any facts.
On August 28, 2016, at the 49er training facility in Santa Clara, Mr. Kaepernick again made the allegation that police officers are getting paid to murder people. Your employee further insulted all law enforcement officers in America by stating, “There is police brutality. People of color have been targeted by police.” Mr. Kaepernick then made inaccurate and untrue statements about the level of training that is required to be a police officer.
On August 31, 2016, it was learned by 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. Photos of Mr. Kaepernick wearing these socks with the derogatory image have been broadcast nationally.
Our membership acknowledges that police officers are human and not perfect. However, blanket statements that police officers in general murder minorities is complete false and insulting to the dedicated men and women in law enforcement agencies across America.
These intentional acts and inflammatory statements by Mr. Kaepernick are insulting to the members of the SCPOA. It is apparent, that the 49ers organization is aware of Mr. Kaepernick’s actions. These actions have occurred while Mr. Kaepernick was acting as an employee of the 49ers and at 49er facilities in Santa Clara. The 49ers organization has taken no action to stop of prevent Mr. Kaepernick from continuing to make inaccurate, incorrect and inflammatory statements against police officers, which include members of the Santa Clara Police Officers Association. Furthermore, your organization has made no statement disagreeing with Mr. Kaepernick’s accusations. It is the unanimous opinion of the SCPOA that the 49ers organization has failed to address your employee’s inappropriate workplace behavior. SCPOA members have worked thousands of hours at Levi’s stadium, 49er training camp and headquarters protecting guests, players and fellow employees. Our officers voluntarily agree to work these assignments. If the 49ers organization fails to take action to stop this type of inappropriate workplace behavior, it could result in police officers choosing not to work at your facilities. Please contact us as soon as possible with the corrective actions your organization intends on implementing.
The men and women of the Santa Clara Police Officers Association are sworn to protect the rights of ALL people in the United States, a duty we take very seriously. Our members, however, have the right to do their job in an environment free of unjustified and insulting attacks from employees of your organization.
SCPOA Board of Directors