San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took to Instagram Thursday to address photos of him wearing socks that depict police officers as pigs, explaining that he believes “rogue cops” create unhealthy environments.
The 28-year-old football player has been at the center of a heated debate on patriotism when he chose not to stand for the national anthem before a game on Aug. 26, a move he said was intended to shed light on racial inequality and police brutality in the US.
Photos of Kaepernick sporting a black pair of socks with pigs wearing police hats were shared by photojournalist Robb Ware on Twitter on Aug. 28.
In his Instagram post, Kaepernick said that he wears the socks “because the rogue cops that are allowed to hold positions in police departments, not only put the community in danger, but also put the cops that have the right intentions in danger by creating an environment of tension and mistrust.”
He added that he has two uncles and friends who are police officers, and that they “work to protect and serve ALL people.”
He released the statement in order to prevent people from using the photos to “distract from the real issue.”