SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) – San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has spent much of his time since he began his national anthem protest over the state of race relations in the United States denying rumors circulating around his action on the Internet.
The latest came on Wednesday, when he was asked about the social media rumors that he had converted to Islam.
“I’ve seen that,” when asked about the rumor. “I haven’t. I have great respect for the religion. I know a lot of people who are Muslim and they are phenomenal people. But I think this comes about with people’s fears over this protest as well as the Islamophobia in this country. People are terrified of them to the point where (presidential candidate Donald) Trump wants to ban all Muslims from being here. Which is ridiculous.”
A possible seed to the rumor is the fact that Kaepernick’s girlfriend is Muslim.
“The impact (of her on his actions) is just the conversation that we are constantly having,” he told reporters. “This is an open conversation I am having with a lot of people – not just my woman.”
“She is Muslim. Her family is Muslim. I have a lot of respect for them. I have a lot of respect for people’s right to believe in what they want to believe. I don’t think anyone should be prosecuted or judged based on what they believe.”
Kaepernick has become a polarizing figure since he decided three weeks ago to not stand for the national anthem during the NFL pre-season.
He has publicly stated the protest is over the current state of race relations in the United States and police brutality targeting minorities.