San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has stood firm on using his platform to spread awareness about social injustices targeting people of color, but he says recent comments he made about former Cuban president Fidel Castro were taken out of context.
Following the sudden news of Castro’s death over the weekend, Kaepernick spoke positively about the things the revolutionary leader did to advance investments in education and provide free universal healthcare for residents in Cuba. He also took slight aim at the heavily flawed U.S. prison system, noting that Castro also ensured funding for education was placed at the forefront of issues ahead of improvements to correctional facilities.
“One thing that Fidel Castro did do is they have the highest literacy rate because they invest more in their education system than they do in their prison system,” he told a Miami Herald reporter after learning of Castro’s death.
While many interpreted the comments as a show of support for Castro on a larger scale and criticized him for it, Kaepernick says that wasn’t at all what he meant by his statements.
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“What I said was that I agree with the investment in education,” the outspoken athlete said during a press conference following the 49ers game on Sunday. “I also agree with the investment in free universal health care, as well as the involvement in him helping end apartheid in South Africa. I would hope that everybody agrees that those things are good things.”
Kaepernick closed out his response by making it clear that while he agrees with some of his initiatives, he most certainly does not support Castro across the board.
“Trying to push the false narrative that I was a supporter of the oppressive things that he did, it’s just not true,” he said.
The 29-year-old NFL star and activist has spent much of 2016 spreading awareness about important social issues both on and off the field.