San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick this week, during a conference call with sports reporters, defended wearing a t-shirt in August that depicted Fidel Castro, even going as far as to praise the Cuban dictator for his country's "highest literacy rate."
Kaepernick was fielding question from South Florida sports reporters ahead of the 49ers game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
That's when Cuban-born Miami Herald sports writer Armando Salguero confronted Kaepernick over his wardrobe choice.
"Are you not aware that Fidel Castro is one of the 20th Century's big oppressors of people?" Salguero asked.
Kaepernick responded by saying he was wearing a Malcolm X shirt, but Salguero pointed out the Cuban dictator was also on it.
“I am a believer in Malcolm X and his ideology and what he talked about and what he believed in as far as fighting oppression," Kaepernick said.
"Are you a believer in Fidel Castro? He was on that shirt?" Salguero followed up.
“If you let me finish, please,” Kaepernick replied.
The 49ers quarterback continued by saying that Malcolm X's willingness to meet with Castro "speaks to his open mind" and his openness to hearing "different aspects of people's views and "creat[ing] his own views as far as the best way to approach different situations, different cultures."
"So it's good to have an open mind about Fidel Castro and his oppression?" Salguero pressed.
Kaepernick insisted he wasn't talking about Castro, but rather, Malcolm X. However, he then went on to praise Castro's Cuba for having something that "we do not have here" in the United States.
"One thing Fidel Castro did do is they have the highest literacy rate because they invest more in their education system than they do in their prison system, which we do not do here even though we’re fully capable of doing that," Kaepernick said.
Salguero pointed out that while Castro's Cuba might have a high rate of literacy, the foreign leaders has also broken up families and taken over a country without any elections, unlike in the United States. But Kaepernick added the U.S. has done those things, too.
"We do break up families here. That's what mass incarceration is. That's the foundation of slavery. So our country has been based on that, as well as the genocide of Native Americans," Kaepernick said.
The reporter then asked Kaepernick if he was equating the breaking up of Cuban families with people being jailed in the U.S. under due process.
"I"m equating the breaking up of families with the breaking up of families," Kaepernick said.
Clearly stunned by Kaepernick's response, the reporter concluded, simply, "Wow. Amazing."
(H/T: Miami Herald)