By Alexis Agiliga
In the wake of Fidel Castro’s death, many celebrities have taken to social media and news outlets to share their opinions of the Cuban dictator. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers quarterback, is receiving backlash for the comments he made to the Miami Herald on Castro.
Throughout 2016, Kaepernick has been speaking out and sharing his opinion on the racial injustices prevalent in the U.S. He is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and shows his solidarity by taking a knee during the Pledge of Allegiance at football games.
NFL athletes are not known for their political commentary, and a majority of NFL fans feels that Kaepernick should just “focus on football. However, Kaepernick is not letting viewer opinions stop him from sharing his thoughts.
Colin Kaepernick was questioned by a Miami Herald reporter on why he was wearing a T-shirt that featured an interaction between Fidel Castro and Malcolm X. People considered this t-shirt as a show of support for Fidel Castro, which seems to be a direct contradiction of Kaepernick’s message of “freedom for all people.” Fidel Castro was a dictator that used oppressive and aggressive tactics to control the Cuban people. Clearly, Castro was not the type of person who believed in freedom for all people.
After news of Kaepernick’s T-shirt spread, the negative feedback began pouring in and boos arose from the crowds at football games, he decided to clear up the confusion. The T-shirt did not mean Kaepernick was supportive of Fidel Castro’s oppressive means of control.
Instead, Kaepernick was showing his support for the high value Castro placed on education and universal healthcare. Kaepernick stated that “Cuba had a high literacy rate under Castro,” compared to the low literacy rates in the U.S. The U.S. has the resources to fund an effective educational system, yet there seem to be no advancements being made.
The current state of health care policy in the U.S. is debated constantly. Although the World Health Organization ranks the United States’ (#37) health care system before Cuba’s (#39), universal health care is not offered in the U.S. Universal health care is one of the most basic components to a health care system yet, the U.S. is the only developed nation without this benefit.
Whether or not people agree with Colin Kaepernick’s opinions, it seems as though he will continue to share his political opinions in the media, regardless of negative reactions from NFL viewers.