(Scott Cunningham / Getty Images file)
MADISON, Wi. (NBC NEWS) – Wisconsin Republicans stripped Colin Kaepernick’s name from a resolution recognizing Black History Month, saying the former NFL quarterback was too controversial to be included.
The state legislature’s Black Caucus drafted the resolution, which named several African-American leaders — including the Wisconsin-born Kaepernick, who famously kneeled during the national anthem while on the San Francisco 49ers to protest systemic racism in the United States.
Kaepernick’s inclusion drew the ire of the Wisconsin Republicans, who amended the resolution taking out his name.
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, who is white, said Tuesday that Kaepernick’s name was too controversial and had to go “for obvious reasons.”
The GOP move left Democrats in the tough spot of voting against the Black Caucus resolution or approving the amended proposal that omitted Kaepernick’s name. The resolution, without Kaepernick, passed unanimously Tuesday.
Democrats re-introduced the original Black Caucus resolution Wednesday afternoon, but it was defeated in a party-line vote in the GOP-controlled Senate.
Then in another party-line vote, the Senate passed a Kaepernick-less Black History Month resolution.
“Doing what is right takes courage,” Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, who is African-American, said from the floor. “Colin Kaepnernick showed courage.”
Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D- Middleton, joked that he personally dislikes Kaepernick — because the quarterback played spectacularly in a 2013 playoff victory over the Green Bay Packers. The lawmaker excoriated his Republican colleagues for targeting Kaepernick.
“There’s never been a selective editing of a resolution that I can remember,” Erpenbach said. “We’re telling African-Americans again, what you can do and can’t do.”
Kaepernick, 31, was born in Milwaukee to a single mother and adopted to a white family, which moved to California where he excelled in baseball and football.
He made headlines with the 49ers in 2016, launching a movement among many black players to take a knee during the anthem. He opted out of his contract with the 49ers and no team has signed him since, leading him to file a lawsuit against the NFL accusing the team owners of collusion.
Kaepernick and protesting NFL players have been a favorite punching bag of President Donald Trump, who considered kneeling during the anthem as a sign of disrespect toward U.S. service members.