Colin Kaepernick on election: 'Didn't really matter who went in'

ByJosh Weinfuss ESPN logo
Thursday, November 10, 2016

TEMPE, Ariz. -- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernicksays it didn't matter to him who won Tuesday's presidential election.

Kaepernick said he didn't believe any of the candidates, including President-elect Donald Trump, who in the past criticized the quarterback's decision to kneel during the national anthem, would change a system that he said "oppresses people of color."

Kaepernick, who did not vote Tuesday, said during a conference call Wednesday with media in Arizona that he "really didn't pay too close of attention" to the election, which was decided close to midnight on the West Coast.

"I've been very disconnected from the systematic oppression as a whole," Kaepernick said. "So, for me, it's another face that's going to be the face of that system of oppression.

"And to me, it didn't really matter who went in there. The system still remains intact that oppresses people of color."

Kaepernick, 29, has taken a stance against racial inequality and oppression all season by kneeling during the national anthem. He stopped standing for the anthem during preseason games and has continued his protest throughout the regular season -- a gesture denounced by Trump.

During an interview with KIRO radio in Seattle in August, Trump criticized Kaepernick's choice to protest during the anthem.

"I think it's personally not a good thing. I think it's a terrible thing," Trump said. "And, you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try. It won't happen."

Kaepernick responded in September to Trump's comments.

"That's a very ignorant statement, that if you don't agree with what's going on here, that if you want justice and liberty and freedom for all, that you should leave the country," Kaepernick said. "He always says, 'Make America great again.' Well, America has never been great for people of color, and that's something that needs to be addressed. Let's make America great for the first time."

While Kaepernick singled out Trump, he also shared his dissatisfaction with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton after the first presidential debate in September.

"To me, 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 is less racist, and at this point, I was talking to one of my friends who goes, 'You have to pick the lesser of two evils, but in the end, it's still evil.'"

New York Jets wideout Brandon Marshall, who has expressed support for Kaepernick's protests, was more conciliatory about Trump's triumph Tuesday.

"The thing I like about this whole situation is we have a flawed man leading our country, and I think that's a good thing because we try to put certain people in certain positions on a pedestal and we expect perfection," Marshall said. "That's not the case. There's only one perfect man who walked this earth. It gives hope to those who are flawed. People get second chances. I hope he does a great job."

ESPN staff writer Rich Cimini contributed to this report.