The police chief in Santa Clara, California, called on the union to walk back their threats to boycott 49ers games because of quarterback Colin Kapernick’s criticism of police. Even though he was “saddened and angered” by Kaepernick’s words, Chief Michael Sellers assured sports fans there would be no security concerns at any games that the 49ers would play in Levi’s Stadium. “I will urge the [Santa Clara Police Officers’ Association] leadership to put the safety of our citizens first,” Sellers wrote in a statement. “I will work with both sides to find a solution. In the meantime, I will ensure we continue to provide a safe environment at Levi’s Stadium.”
That’s not to say that Sellers thinks Kaepernick’s criticism has any merit. “His blanket statements disparaging the law enforcement profession are hurtful and do not help bring the country together,” Sellers wrote. “As distasteful as his actions are, these actions are protected by the Constitution. Police officers are here to protect the rights of every person, even if we disagree with their position.”
Sellers issued the statement a day after the Santa Clara Police Officers’ Association sent a letter to the San Francisco 49ers saying that if the team didn’t take action against Kaepernick, “it could result in police officers choosing not to work at your facilities.” The union is upset about Kaepernick’s comments about police brutality as well as his choice to wear socks that displayed cartoon pigs wearing police hats. “The 49ers are allowing this to come out from an employee and it’s making for a hostile work environment for us at the stadium,” said Frank Saunders, president of the Santa Clara Police Officers Association.