The NFL star's decision to not stand during the national anthem last week has prompted the association to comment

By Blake Bakkila
September 03, 2016 10:05 AM
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Santa Clara Police Officers Association is speaking out against San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick, calling his statements about police “insulting, inaccurate and completely unsupported by any facts,” according to a letter written by the union’s board of directors. And now the association is claiming that some officers might stop working at the NFL team’s games.

“If the 49ers organization fails to take action to stop this type of inappropriate workplace behavior, it could result in police officers choosing not to work at your facilities,” the association wrote in the statement obtained by NBC.

The star athlete’s controversial decision to silently protest police brutality by not standing during the national anthem at NFL games has become headline-grabbing news for the past week. Since the beginning of the season, he has continued to not stand, and other players have joined him.

“Following the game [on Aug. 26], your employee explained to the media that his actions were an attempt to get public attention to the oppression of African Americans and minorities in the United States by police officers,” the association wrote, addressing the NFL. “Your employee then insinuated that police officers are being placed on paid leave for murdering minorities.”

The letter continued with references to other statements and actions by Kaepernick, 28. One example included Kaepernick wearing socks that features pigs in police uniforms. The association said all of this has “threatened our harmonious working relationship,” between the 49ers and the police.

(Kaepernick later said he had worn the socks before his protests and did so because he was against “rogue cops” that “not only put the community in danger, but also put the cops that have the right intentions in danger.”)

Frank Saunders, the head of the association told NBC, “I’m already hearing it this week that next week on Monday Night Football, some officers are not going to work.”

In the statement, the association’s board also expressed discontent with the 49ers response – or rather, lack thereof – amid this controversy. (The NFL does not require players to stand during the national anthem and said they would not punish Kaepernick for not standing.)

Santa Clara Police Chief Michael Sellers said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE on Saturday commented on the letter released by the association.

“Many of us in the law enforcement community have been saddened and angered by Kaepernick’s words and actions,” Sellers wrote. “As distasteful as his actions are, these actions are protected by the Constitution. Police officers are here to protect the rights of every person, even if we disagree with their position.”

Sellers said his community’s safety must be prioritized over disagreement with Kaepernick’s statements and actions.

“I will urge the POA leadership to put the safety of our citizens first,” he wrote. “I will work with both sides to find a solution. I will ensure we continue to provide a safe environment at Levi’s Stadium.”

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