Days before Colin Kaepernick settled his collusion grievance against the most powerful sports league in the nation, one of our readers spotted a racist effigy of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback right here in San Jose.
It was close to 11am Feb. 12 when she reported seeing it in the parking lot of the Almaden area Costco: a plush Kaepernick doll hung by a chain-link noose on the back of a gunmetal gray 2005 Nissan Titan pickup. The observer, who asked to remain anonymous to protect her privacy, said the depiction of racial violence shook her to the core.
“Simulating the lynching of a black man who peacefully protested violence against people of color is racist behavior that cannot be tolerated here or anywhere in this country,” she said. “It’s absolutely shameful that whoever is driving this truck is fine with this public display of racism and hate.”
Many such hateful representations of Kaepernick have ignited headline-grabbing backlash in communities throughout the country.
Last fall, to name one example, a Placerville barber publicly apologized after a photo of a Kaepernick doll hanging from his shop ceiling went viral. The proprietor, known to locals as the Bowtie Barber, said he hung the likeness in 2016 after Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem to protest systemic racism and police brutality.
“I literally had no idea that I was offending people,” the barber told a Sacramento-area Fox News affiliate at the time.
We have no idea who affixed a noosed-up Kaepernick to the pickup photographed in south San Jose last week, so we can only wonder whether he or she would make similar claims of ignorance. But while Kaepernick’s biggest detractors try to frame their displeasure as some kind of patriotic defense of the troops and the flag, images like this make it hard to believe that it’s about anything other than race.