President Donald Trump credited himself for the reason why free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick has not been picked up by a NFL team.
Speaking to a crowd in Louisville, Kentucky, Monday night, Trump cited a report from Bleacher Report that quotes an anonymous source who speculates that some team owners are worried the controversial quarterback will cause protests of a team or garner a tweet from Trump himself.
"[S]ome teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him," an anonymous AFC general manager told Bleacher Report. "They think there might be protests or Trump will tweet about the team. I'd say that number is around 10 percent. Then there's another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings."
Kaepernick, who played for the San Francisco 49ers until his contract ran out after the 2016 season, garnered national attention for kneeling during the national anthem. Kaepernick said his protest was because of what he perceived as racial inequality and police brutality in the U.S.
On Monday, Trump took credit for Kaepernick's status as still a free agent.
"The San Francisco quarterback — I'm sure nobody ever heard of him — I'm just reporting the news," Trump told those gathered in Kentucky. "There was an article today that was reported that NFL owners don't want to pick him up because they don't want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Can you believe that?"
Trump continued that he wanted to "report that to the people of Kentucky" as "they like it when people actually stand for the American flag."
This isn't Trump's first time taking a jab at the athlete. In fact, Trump suggested during his presidential campaign that Kaepernick "should find a country that works better for him."
Trump also told Fox News in September that Kaepernick's protest shows a "lack of respect for our country."
"It's a very sad thing. I've never seen anything quite like it actually," Trump said at the time.
Aside from his political views, the anonymous AFC general manger speculated that some teams could be avoiding signing Kaepernick, 29, because they "genuinely believe that he can't play" anymore.
Famed film director Spike Lee also called attention to Kaepernick's career this week after he posted an Instagram photo of himself with the quarterback. In the photo's caption, Lee said "something smells mad fishy" about Kaepernick remaining unsigned.
"How is it that there are 32 NFL teams and [Kaepernick] is still a free agent?" Lee wrote. "Smells mad fishy to me, stinks to the high heavens."
"The question remains what owner and [general manager] is going to step up and sign Colin so their team has a better chance to win? What crime has Colin committed?" he asked.
According to ESPN, Kaepernick plans to stand for the national anthem this year — should he sign with a team — and he said his protests accomplished his goal of generating a national discussion on inequality in the U.S.
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