Wisconsin Republicans stripped Colin Kaepernick’s name from a resolution recognizing Black History Month, saying the former NFL quarterback was too controversial to be included.
The state legislature’s Black Caucus drafted the resolution, which named several African-American leaders — including the Wisconsin-born Kaepernick, who famously kneeled during the national anthem while on the San Francisco 49ers to protest systematic racism in the United States.
Kaepernick’s inclusion drew the ire of the Wisconsin Republicans, who amended the resolution taking out his name.
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, who is white, said Tuesday that Kaepernick’s name was too controversial and had to go “for obvious reasons.”
The GOP move left Democrats in the tough spot of voting against the Black Caucus resolution or approving the amended proposal that omitted Kaepernick’s name. The resolution, without Kaepernick, passed unanimously Tuesday.
It goes to the GOP-controlled Senate, which has no black members, Wednesday afternoon.
“The biggest issue that we have as a Black Caucus is people choosing to pick our views for us as black people,” state Rep. David Crowley, who represents Milwaukee, told the State Journal newspaper in Madison.
Crowley, chairman of the legislature’s Black Caucus, called the Republican action a “textbook example of white privilege.”
Kaepernick, 31, was born in Milwaukee to a single mother and adopted to a white family, which moved to California where he excelled in baseball and football.
He made headlines with the 49ers in 2016, launching a movement among many black players to take a knee during the anthem. He opted out of his contract with the 49ers and no team has signed him since, leading him to file a lawsuit against the NFL accusing the team owners of collusion.
Kaepernick and protesting NFL players have been a favorite punching bag of President Donald Trump, who considered kneeling during the anthem as a sign of disrespect toward U.S. service members.