San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was jeered during his team’s game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday after making comments that praised late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro during the week.
There were loud boos from the crowd when Kaepernick and the rest of the 49ers offense trotted onto the field for their first series, and more jeers just before the first down snap.
Kaepernick, who has kneeled during the National Anthem all season to protest police brutality and the treatment of minorities, defended Castro during a conference call Wednesday with South Florida reporters.
Castro, who died Friday, has strong critics within South Florida’s large Cuban-American population.
During the conference call, Miami Herald reporter Armando Salguero, who was born in Cuba, challenged Kaepernick about a T-shirt the quarterback wore in August featuring Castro and Malcolm X.
In a column published hours before Castro’s death was announced, Salguero said Kaepernick noted Cuba’s high literacy rate and claimed that “they invest more in their education system than they do in their prison system, which we do not do here [in the U.S.] even though were fully capable of doing that.”
When Salguero tried to ask Kaepernick about the disintegration of Cuban families under the Castro regime, the quarterback said “We do break up families here … Thats what mass incarceration is. That was the foundation of slavery. So our country has been based on that as well as the genocide of native Americans.”
Salguero concluded his column by calling Kaepernick a “fraud” and an “unrepentant hypocrite.”
Kaepernick defended his statements after the game, which the Dolphins won, 31-24, after he was stopped two yards short of the potential game-tying touchdown.
“What I said was, I agree with the investment in education, he said, according to WSVN. I also agree with the investment in universal health care, as well as the involvement in helping end apartheid in South Africa.
One of the Dolphins defenders in on the game-saving tackle of Kaepernick was linebacker Kiko Alonso, whose father was born in Cuba and fled the Castro regime.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.