New York City officials allowed former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to bring his message about police brutality to inmates at Rikers Island on Tuesday, and corrections officers weren’t pleased, according to the New York Post.
“That’s crazy to me to have a person like Colin Kaepernick in prison talking about police brutality,” said one officer at the event. “It was insulting for me to be there. In the inmate’s eyes, we are the police when they’re locked up.”
Why was he invited?
City Hall spokesman Eric Phillips said Kaepernick should be applauded for his protests and example.
“This is a guy using his celebrity to help young adults turn their lives around, to his own significant professional cost,” Phillips said.
A spokesman for the Department of Corrections echoed that sentiment, saying Kaepernick brought a “message of hope and inspiration.”
What did he talk about?
Kaepernick spoke to two different groups of inmates during his visit. A source that attended the talks told the New York Post what he discussed.
- He answered questions about life in the NFL
- He discussed police brutality as the reason he began protesting during the national anthem
- He said the NFL was keeping him out of football because of his protests
- He told the inmates they could go on to do good things despite their current incarceration
Why did officers have a problem?
Some corrections officers believed Kaepernick’s visit and a message that some perceive as anti-police would lead to more violence from inmates.
“We’ve got enough issues in the facility with inmates assaulting staff,” said one officer. “His presence, what he stands for, certainly doesn’t help.”
The president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association blamed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for the situation.
“Once again, correction officers find themselves caught in Mayor de Blasio’s political con-game," said Elias Husamudeen.