WI GOPers Blocked Black History Month Bill Until Kaepernick’s Name Removed

February 13, 2019 12:26 p.m.

Sixty-one Republicans in the Wisconsin State Assembly, and zero Democrats, voted Tuesday to remove Colin Kaepernick from a resolution recognizing Black History Month.

“I think it’s important to recognize the contributions of literally thousands and thousands of African-Americans to our state’s history but also trying to find people who, again, bring us together, not look at people who draw some sort of vitriol from either side,” Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said in justifying removing Kaepernick’s name.

The resolution, initially authored by Democrats, ultimately passed the assembly without Kaepernick’s name 95-0. However, Democratic Rep. Lakeshia Myers later changed her vote because “I could not in good conscience vote for a watered down version of what was introduced by the Legislative Black Caucus.”

“The insistence that Colin Kaepernick’s name be removed from the black history month resolution was an exercise in white privilege and one that I cannot accept,” she said in a statement. “To agree to the watered down version of this resolution would mean supporting the suppression of the African American’s fundamental right to protest injustice. That is something I cannot and will not do.”

The assembly’s Republicans are almost all white, save for Rep. Jessie Rodriguez, the state’s first Latina Republican lawmaker. No Republican voted against the amendment to remove Kaepernick from the resolution.

Sen. Lena C. Taylor, an African American Democrat, has said she will seek to amend the resolution again to put Kaepernick’s name back in.

“It’s outrageous that some Republicans feel they can censor African-American legislators in this way,” she told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In 2017, Kaepernick filed a collusion grievance against the NFL alleging that team owners conspired to keep him out of a job in retaliation for his protest of kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racism.

The Journal Sentinel and Washington Post reported that Kaepernick’s name was initially included in the resolution in part due to his $25,000 donation to the local nonprofit Milwaukee’s Urban Underground.

The resolution initially said of Kaepernick: “Milwaukee native, political activist and NFL quarterback, who formerly played with the San Francisco 49ers, who has sought to raise attention to racial injustice and systemic oppression.”

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