SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Perhaps to the surprise of no one who has followed his previous comments on the candidates, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said Tuesday he has not and does not intend to vote in the presidential election.
Kaepernick, who has been kneeling all season during the national anthem in protest of racial inequality and oppression, was asked whether he had voted and responded with a simple “no.” Asked whether he planned to vote later Tuesday evening, he offered the same response. He did not expound on his choice to stay away from the voting booth.
But Kaepernick previously voiced his displeasure with presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump after the first presidential debate in September.
“To me, it was embarrassing to watch that these are our two candidates,” Kaepernick said then. “Both are proven liars, and it almost seems like they’re trying to debate who is less racist, and at this point, I was talking to one of my friends who goes, ‘You have to pick the lesser of two evils, but in the end it’s still evil.'”
Trump has spoken on the record about Kaepernick’s protest. The Republican candidate objected to Kaepernick’s method of protest and suggested on the “Dori Monson Show” on Seattle radio in late August that Kaepernick should find somewhere else to live if he doesn’t like it here.
“I have followed it, and I think it’s personally not a good thing. I think it’s a terrible thing, and you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him — let him try, it’s not gonna happen,” Trump said.
Asked about Trump’s words in September, Kaepernick fired back.
“That’s a very ignorant statement, that if you don’t agree with what’s going on here, that if you want justice and liberty and freedom for all, that you should leave the country,” Kaepernick said. “He always says, ‘Make America great again.’ Well, America has never been great for people of color, and that’s something that needs to be addressed. Let’s make America great for the first time.”
While Clinton has mostly avoided Kaepernick as a topic of conversation, running mate Senator Tim Kaine, did speak briefly on it in September.
“You know, you’ve got to respect people’s ability to act according to their conscience,” Kaine told ABC News.
“I’d do it differently,” Kaine said. “I think if you really thought about issues and about this country, you’d do it differently, and when I heard him explain his rationale, it didn’t really make that much sense to me. But you’ve got to respect people’s ability to act according to their conscience, so I wouldn’t presume to tell him what to do.”