The only quarterback in history famous for taking a knee, paid a visit to NYC inmates in Rikers Island this week to discuss police brutality. Corrections officers were angered by the visit, feeling that it would put their safety in danger.
According to the New York Post, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick met with inmates during two sessions Tuesday morning at the jail’s George Motchan Detention Center. Topics discussed were social justice issues as well as his decision to protest police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem at football games in front of paying customers that made his multi-million dollar salary possible.
“The morning started off with Kaepernick attending breakfast in the warden’s office before heading over to the ‘Peace Center,’ where he conducted two 45-minute sessions with prisoners clad in gray jumpsuits,” reports the New York Post. “The first group was 14 inmates — six adults and eight adolescents.”
Kaepernick gave a 10-minute talk, followed by a Q&A and autographs.
“They were basic questions, like what’s it like to play in the NFL,” said a source. “Then they asked him about taking a knee, why was he doing it. He said he was doing it to call attention to police brutality. He said he felt that, being a man of means, he felt obligated to take a stance on what he believes in.”
Corrections officers expressed outrage over his visit, as it could lead to the inmates being less compliant.
“That’s crazy to me to have a person like Colin Kaepernick in prison talking about police brutality,” said an officer who attended the event. “It was insulting for me to be there. In the inmates’ eyes, we are the police when they’re locked up.”
“The inmates see a guy like this coming in, it’s almost like the administration is condoning being anti-law enforcement,” said Patrick Ferraiuolo, president of the Correction Captains’ Association. “His presence alone could incite these guys.”
“We’ve got enough issues in the facility with inmates assaulting staff,” Ferraiuolo said. “His presence, what he stands for, certainly doesn’t help.”
According to the source, Kaepernick said nothing derogatory about police officers, a departure from his previous wearing of police pig socks during NFL practices.
“He was telling them how they could do better in life, that they’ve made mistakes, that this wasn’t the end for them, that they could go on to do good things,” he said.