Colin Kaepernick has been speaking extensively about social issues, and for some folks, that has led to various conspiracies. Some far right websites that focus on conspiracies have said he converted to Islam while being influenced by his girlfriend. They have not gone into a lot of specifics about why that’s a problem, but they’ve gone with the dog whistle this brings that people should be scared of Muslims.
On Wednesday, Kaepernick spoke with the media at his locker, and he addressed the reports. He said he has seen the conspiracies, and he has not converted. Matt Maiocco had a transcript of those comments, and you can watch some video below. His girlfriend is Muslim, and he provided some thoughts about her family and his respect for the religion. But no, he has not converted to Islam.
In reality, it does not matter if he did convert to Islam. There is dog-whistling about the religion, as there often is for a variety of minority groups in America. But that is just used to take our eye off the ball of the issues that really matter.
Last week, I was doing an interview with a radio station in Phoenix, Arizona about Colin Kaepernick’s protest. At one point, the host said that Kaepernick is a Muslim and his girlfriend is active in the Black Lives Matter movement. They were going to go from there, but after recovering from being slightly stunned, I interrupted them to tell them he is not a Muslim.
They responded saying it seemed like that was the news now and it was going around on websites. I have had people tweet and email me links about this, and they all come from far right websites. I realize we have conservatives on this site, but this is Alex Jones Info War level stuff. I told the hosts that was the case, and there response was “Oh, good, thanks for clarifying.”
A lot about this interview caught me off guard, but the last line hit me the worst. It is possible they were just glad to have accurate info, but when you’re stating that kind of stuff as fact, based off some incredibly shady websites, I’m not inclined to give a person the benefit of the doubt. And given the deeper issues Colin Kaepernick is speaking to, this kind of distracting dog-whistling angers me.