Stephen A. Smith says the 29-year-old quarterback “betrayed his cause” by neglecting to support a candidate.
This article was originally published on PEOPLE.
Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who has refused to stand for the national anthem since the beginning of the NFL football season, told reporters on Election Day that he was not going to vote.
In the opinion of ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, the 29-year-old quarterback “betrayed his cause” by neglecting to support a candidate.
“He comes across as a flaming hypocrite,” Smith fumed on Wednesday’s edition of First Take. “And as far as I’m concerned, I’m not interested in a damn word that he has to say, and quite frankly, I hope he goes away. He’s lucky to be in the league right now.”
The commentator went on to say Kaepernick’s inaction was “shameful” following the football player’s headline-grabbing protest that gained support as well as provoked death threats.
Kaepernick told reporters earlier in the year that he will refuse to stand until there is a “significant change” in the oppression of people due to their race in the country. However, he seemed to think that neither President-elect Donald Trump or his opponent Hillary Clinton would have made a difference.
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“To me, it didn’t really matter who went in there,” Kaepernick told reporters Wednesday, according to USA Today. “The system still remains intact that oppresses people of color.”
Kaepernick spoke out against both candidates after the first presidential debate, according to the outlet.
“It was embarrassing to watch that these are our two candidates,” Kaepernick said. “Both are proven liars, and it almost seems like they’re trying to debate who’s less racist. And at this point … you have to pick the lesser of two evils. But in the end, it’s still evil.”