On November 25, hours before news of Fidel Castro's death broke out, San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick appeared in an NFL press conference wearing a t-shirt that featured Malcolm X and the former dictator of Cuba. Since then, Kapernick has been labeled as a supporter of one of history's most notorious oppressors.
The athlete's t-shirt referenced the time when Malcolm X and Castro met during the 1960s. During the controversial image of the design, a lot of sources pressed Kaepernick regarding its meaning for him. This includes Cuban exile Armando Salguero, a reporter for the Miami Herald.
In his back and forth discussion with Kaepernick, Salguero questioned the quarterback regarding the significance of the shirt. At first, the 49ers star tried to explain that the only reason why he wore that shirt was because of his huge admiration for Malcolm X and his open mindedness, since it shows that he is willing to discuss with someone who has an opposing view, such as Castro.
However, as Salguero continued to point out the atrocities committed under Castro's regime, Kaepernick somehow praised the late dictator for what he has done for Cuba's education sector. According to the athlete, because of Castro, Cuba has a high literacy rate, which Salguero immediately said was inaccurate.
"One thing Fidel Castro did do is they have the highest literacy rate because they invest more in their education system than they do in their prison system, which we do not do here even though we're fully capable of doing that," Kaepernick said.
Following the interview with Miami Herald, Kaepernick, who has been protesting against human rights violations since the NFL preseason, has been regarded as an admirer of Cuba's former tyrant, whose regime lasted for five decades.
Recently, Kaepernick tried to clarify the controversy by trying to explain what he meant when he talked about Castro. He noted that although he stands by his statement, he said that he is not a supporter of Castro's oppressive actions.
"What I said was I agree with the investment in education," he said according to ESPN. "I also agree with the investment in free universal healthcare as well as the involvement in him helping to end apartheid in South Africa."
"Trying to push the false narrative that I was a supporter of the oppressive things that he did is just not true," he added.