Kaepernick addresses controversy, defends Malcolm X-Castro shirt


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Colin Kaepernick appeared at the podium for his post-game press conference wearing a T-shirt that depicted activist Malcolm X, who was assassinated in 1965.

This week, Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero challenged Kaepernick on a conference call about his shirt selection. Kaepernick previous wore a T-shirt showing Malcolm X and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro at a meeting in 1960.

Cuban officials announced Castro’s death on Friday, the same day the 49ers arrived in South Florida to play the Miami Dolphins.

After the 49ers’ 31-24 loss, Kaepernick was asked about some of the statements he made, in which he defended Castro’s record of education in Cuba.

“What I said was that I agree with the investment in education,” Kaepernick said. “I also agree with the investment in free universal health care, as well as the involvement in him helping end apartheid in South Africa. I would hope that everybody agrees that those things are good things. Trying to push the false narrative that I was a supporter of the oppressive things that he did, it’s just not true.”

Kaepernick was asked about his shirt selection on Sunday.

“I’ve worn many Malcolm X shirts,” Kaepernick said. “He was a great man and he lived the life that he talked about. He was someone that truly walked the walk and was a great leader for the African community, and someone I admire.”

When asked if he understands concerns that arose with his decision to wear a shirt that portrayed Castro, Kaepernick said, “I can understand the concern. But for me what I said was that was a historic moment for Malcolm.

Kaepernick added, "I’m not going to cut out pieces of Malcolm’s life. In 1960 when they met in Harlem, that was a historic moment. That’s something that I will always be true to what Malcolm was, what he represented because I’m not going to cut out history.”

Kaepernick was asked if he worries that the Castro controversy and the attention on his decision not to vote is causing the public to lose track of his original message.

“I don’t worry about people losing track of what the message is,” he said. “I’ve been true to the message. I’m against systematic oppression. Voting is a part of that system, and I’ve talked at length about why I believe that.”

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