The head of the San Francisco Police Officers Association responded to 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sitting through the national anthem during Friday's preseason game as a "great disappointment" in a letter addressed Monday to the NFL commissioner and CEO of the 49ers.
During a 20-minute exchange with the press, Kaepernick said, "Cops are getting paid leave for killing people. That's not right. That's not right by anyone's standards."
The city's police union chief, Martin Halloran, rebuffed the quarterback's claim about law enforcement. In his letter, Halloran called on the NFL and 49ers to denounce Kaepernick for sitting during the Star Spangled Banner.
"Not only does he show an incredible lack of knowledge regarding our profession and 'officer involved' shootings, but also shows a naivety and total lack of sensitivity towards police officers," Halloran said. "Ironically, it is those officers who on numerous occasions have protected Mr. Kaepernick and have ensured that the venues where the NFL holds its events are fully protected."
Halloran pointed out recent attacks on police in his letter.
"Perhaps Mr. Kaepernick could comment on the murder of 49 police officers in the United States the past few months, or the assaults perpetrated on over 100,000 law enforcement officers in the past year," Halloran said.
"Perhaps he could lend his commentary to the over 8,000 murders that African Americans inflicted on one another in 2015. The law enforcement community cannot be continuously blamed on all of society’s problems, including racial divide, in our country."
Kaepernick said that oppression against minorities in America has prompted him to take a seat during the National Anthem. Kaepernick added that he will continue to sit during the Star Spangled Banner.
"I’ll continue to stand with the people who are being oppressed," the quarterback told reporters. "To me, this is something that has to change, and when there’s significant change — and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way it’s supposed to — I’ll stand."
The NFL released a statement Saturday saying it encourages, but not requires, players to stand during the national anthem.