Jeremy Staat, a former U.S. Marine who served in Iraq and who is running for a congressional seat in California, said he’s grown tired of seeing Colin Kaepernick celebrated for his criticisms of America.
Staat raised his issue with Kaepernick following the controversial NFL quarterback’s spoke at an “Unthanksgiving” event on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco. In a Monday fundraising email reported by Fox News, Staat said Kaepernick is a “national disgrace and I’m tired of seeing him celebrated like he’s a hero.”
Staat, who also played in 31 NFL games across four seasons, said “[Kaepernick] knew what he was getting into when he decided to kneel.”
Kaepernick gained national attention when he decided to kneel during the U.S. national anthem as a protest against perceived social injustices. Kaepernick’s protests reportedly focused on his views of police brutality and racial inequity in the U.S.
Kaepernick hasn’t played for the NFL since the 2016 season but Nike sponsored the controversial NFL quarterback and made him the face of their 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign.
Kaepernick has also criticized the football league and accused NFL owners of excluding him from opportunities in the league because of his anthem protest, though the two parties reportedly settled the dispute earlier this year.
The “Unthanksgiving” event was meant as a celebration of Native American groups who began occupying Alcatraz Island in protest after the island was no longer being used as a federal prison facility.
“Spent the morning at the Indigenous People’s Sunrise Ceremony on the 50 year anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz,” Kaepernick said in a tweet on Thanksgiving. “The US government has stolen over 1.5 billion acres of land from Indigenous people. Thank you to my Indigenous family, I’m with you today and always.”
Spent the morning at the Indigenous People’s Sunrise Ceremony on the 50 year anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz. The US government has stolen over 1.5 billion acres of land from Indigenous people. Thank you to my Indigenous family, I’m with you today and always.✊🏽 pic.twitter.com/6cTuktUlQN
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) November 28, 2019
Kaepernick’s tweet included footage of the 1969 protest movement on Alcatraz Island, which began Nov. 20, 1969, and continued for 19 months.
In a Monday appearance on Fox & Friends, Staat accused Kaepernick of capitalizing on his controversial anthem protest and “essentially extorting the black community and using Nike as his little shiny horse, if you will, to ride in on.”
In his campaign email, Staat appeared to draw a contrast between himself and Kaepernick. Staat said, instead of attacking law enforcement, he wants to be part of a solution.
“If you want to be part of the solution, go out and find ways to make the problem better. Don’t go out and attack individuals who are just doing their jobs,” Staat said.
Staat, who is running as a Republican for California’s 8th congressional district, said he wants to focus on supporting veterans and reforming the VA, but not “attack” VA doctors and nurses working to support their veteran patients. Staat said he also wants to help President Donald Trump in Congress.