Naval Special Warfare Command is investigating a video showing a man dressed in a Colin Kaepernick jersey being attacked by military working dogs in a demonstration last year at the Navy SEAL Museum, according to Task & Purpose, a military and veteran-focused outlet.
The Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida, is a nonprofit "dedicated solely to preserving the history of the U.S. Navy SEALs and their predecessors," its website says, according to Task & Purpose, adding that the museum's board of directors includes seven retired SEALs.
The museum is an independent operation, NPR reported.
What are the details?
The first of two videos show four dogs attacking the man with a red and white Kaepernick jersey in the style of the San Francisco 49ers as an audience watches and an MC narrates the action over a loudspeaker.
In the second video, the same man is lying on the ground while one dog attacks him and apparently "SEALs" dressed in fatigues and holding rifles command the man to "turn over on your belly." The man replies, "Oh, man, I will stand," and rolls over as the crowd laughs.
Navy Seals investigate video of 'dog attack' on man in Colin Kaepernick shirt youtu.be
Kaepernick is a former 49ers quarterback who began kneeling during the national anthem during the 2016 season to protest racial inequality and police brutality; he hasn't played since that season ended. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has apologized for not listening earlier to players' concerns about social injustice, and he has encouraged teams to consider signing Kaepernick, ESPN said.
Kaepernick has stayed in the headlines, particularly now that taking a knee appears to be standard operating procedure for most professional athletes in the wake of George Floyd's death in May and nationwide protests and rioting in support of Black Lives Matter that followed.
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Filmmaker Billy Corben circulated the videos online Sunday noting that the 2019 event in question was a fundraiser. For the second video showing the man with the Kaepernick jersey lying the ground, Corben wrote, "Navy SEALs and Navy SEAL dogs take down Colin Kaepernick for not standing during National Anthem" as if that's how the video was originally titled.
ESPN said the videos were posted on Instagram last year, but the Instagram links provided by Corben were inactive Monday afternoon.
What did the Navy and the museum have to say?
Naval Special Warfare Command said in a statement Sunday afternoon that officials learned of the videos Sunday.
"The inherent message of this video is completely inconsistent with the values and ethos of Naval Special Warfare and the U.S. Navy," the statement said. "We are investigating the matter fully, and initial indications are that there were no active duty Navy personnel or equipment involved with this independent organization's event."
The museum did not immediately respond to questions about the event, NPR reported.
NPR said the museum — which is on former naval training grounds — has a history of dramatic demonstrations involving dogs, weapons, and helicopters. The outlet said during a 2019 fundraiser a crowd watched as women were taken hostage by three men wearing black-and-white checkered scarves.
NPR, citing ABC News, said video from a 2018 event shows people in military gear in a standoff with a vehicle that says "Take a Knee."