Saturday, Senate candidate Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, called former football player turned Nike pitchman Colin Kaepernick a “jerk” and suggested that Kaepernick’s comments accusing the U.S. Military of terrorist acts was “un-American.”
“Anyone who doesn’t understand which side is terrorist and which side is fighting the terrorists is either delusional or, worse, anti-America,” Byrne said on social media. “Which do you think this jerk is?”
“And this is who you want as the face of your brand, @Nike.” Byrne added. “Unlike so many of our servicemen, like my brother Dale who paid a price for his patriotism, this guy dishonors the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of our warriors.”
After Byrne was praised for “speaking the truth” by a supporter he replied, “We must keep speaking the truth about these folks so people see what they are trying to do to our country!”
In response to the killing of Iranian General Qasim Soleimani in Baghdad by a CIA drone, Kaepernick tweeted, “There is nothing new about American terrorist attacks against Black and Brown people for the expansion of American imperialism.”
“America has always sanctioned and besieged Black and Brown bodies both at home and abroad,” Kaepernick claimed on social media. “America militarism is the weapon wielded by American imperialism, to enforce its policing and plundering of the non white world.”
Colin Kaepernick used to be an NFL quarterback. Early in his career, he beat out San Francisco veteran quarterback Alex Smith for the starting job, after Smith was sidelined with concussions. At his high point he led the San Francisco Forty-Niners to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens.
More recently, Kaepernick lost his starting job to Blaine Gabbert during the 2015 season. The Denver Broncos attempted to trade for Kaepernick, but could not reach a contract renegotiation agreement with the quarterback. A disgruntled Kaepernick, who lost the starting job to Gabbert again in 2016, took a knee during the national anthem throughout the 2016 season to protest what he claims was “racial injustice” in this country and the deaths of minorities at the hands of police. The action sparked a national movement where players across the country took a knee during the anthem.
2016 Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump condemned Kaepernick’s disrespect of the flag and the military. The NFL’s TV ratings dropped as a result of the controversy that season. Kaepernick negotiated an early release from his contract and expected to win a new starting job in the 2017 season. Although the Seattle Seahawks brought Kaepernick in for talks about becoming their backup quarterback, no team offered the former starter a roster spot and when the 2017 training camps began, Kaepernick had no team. Kaepernick’s agent expected that he would get an offer once a starting quarterback was injured in the 2017 season. That never happened.
Kaepernick’s supporters accused the league’s 32 team owners of colluding against the player in retaliation for the 2017 drops in TV viewers and ticket sales. Kaepernick sued the league. Because of his rising popularity with the “social justice” community, Nike signed the controversial former player to a shoe deal. The 2018 season came and went without Kaepernick ever holding a roster spot in the league. After the 2018 season the NFL settled the lawsuit for undisclosed terms. In 2019 Kaepernick still was not in an NFL training camp. In November the league held a rare workout for Kaepernick. While some of the wide receivers that he threw the ball too were signed to NFL roster spots, no team made an offer to Kaepernick.
The entire 2019 NFL season came and went and Kaepernick never wore an NFL uniform. The NFL’s TV ratings were at record levels, with the league’s games being 47 of the 50 highest rated television broadcasts of the year.
“Yeah, he’s a loser on and off the field,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) told Fox News in response to Kaepernick’s comments. “He has no idea what the Iranian regime has done to the region. He has no idea that they have 600 American deaths as a result of IEDs made in Iran and used in Iraq.”
“It’s un-American,” Graham added. “He’s a racist. If you’re looking for racism in America, Mr. Kaepernick, look in the mirror. Your country is not the problem! It’s the Iranians, and you’re so blinded by your hatred of Trump that you can’t see the difference between who we are and who the Ayatollah is. Pretty sad.”
‘I don’t care if you’re a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Independent…If you think Iran’s current political leaders will ever be a friend to America…you’re delusional,” Byrne retweeted.
Bradley Byrne is a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Doug Jones.
The Republican primary is March 3.
Original reporting by Breitbart News and Fox News contributed to this report.