Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin refused to pass a Black History Month resolution until the name of former quarterback Colin Kaepernick was removed from the list of honorees.
Black lawmakers in the state’s Legislature added Kaepernick, who was born in Milwaukee, to a list of others to be honored in February but GOP lawmakers blocked the resolution until his name was removed from consideration, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
CNN’s Don Lemon blasted the lawmakers on “Cuomo Prime Time” for what he called “B.S.” in the decision to remove the name of the controversial National Football League quarterback who sparked a firestorm of debate in 2016 when he began kneeling during the national anthem in a form of protest.
“He was doing what is a right to all Americans, to peacefully protest,” Lemon complained Wednesday on CNN. “And yet and still, he is suffering the consequences of that after he broke no laws, and he’s trying to help out the very community that he’s trying to bring attention to.”
On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Assembly passed the resolution, which was drafted by the state’s Black Caucus, after removing Kaepernick’s name from the list of prominent Black Americans, including former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and baseball great, Reggie Jackson.
“I don’t understand it. I think they’re wrong. I think they should put him back on there. Just because you don’t like it, that’s your problem,” Lemon said.
Sen. Lena Taylor of Milwaukee, who co-authored the resolution, said it was “outrageous” that GOP lawmakers “feel they can censor African-American legislators in this way.”
“So while we celebrate the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, evidently the Republicans don’t think the First Amendment rights should be afforded to African-Americans,” she said.
Former Milwaukee County Sheriff, David Clarke, applauded the decision on Twitter.
GREAT move by Wisconsin State GOP.
Kaepernick does not belong being mentioned in Black History month. He is NOT historic. He is a lightweight privileged rebel rouser who did nothing more than slap military vets our flag and cops in the face. Piss on him. https://t.co/40ttid5Mmi
— David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) February 13, 2019
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke had indicated that the resolution would not be approved by GOP lawmakers “for obvious reasons.”
The resolution’s author, Democratic Rep. David Crowley called the opposition by Republicans “a textbook example of white privilege” and a “slap in the face,” saying he “had to get the blessing of all of my white counterparts” to finally pass it.
CNN’s Lemon slammed it as “ignorance.”
“Look, I don’t know about it. I just think it’s ignorance,” he said. “I just think it’s B.S. Whatever you want to call it, if you want to call it white privilege, that is your business.”
According to Crowley, Kaepernick’s name was added partly because of a $25,000 donation to a Milwaukee nonprofit Urban Underground, which works with teens, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Milwaukee Democratic Rep. LaKeshia Myers was the sole dissenter in the vote, noting that Kaepernick “decided to take on ownership of a problem that he saw, which was police brutality.”
“Whether you dislike the method that he used, understand that it is a part of America’s DNA — not just African-Americans’ protest,” Myers said.
Lemon continued his rant on CNN Wednesday, finding a way to blame President Donald Trump for having “twisted” the narrative.
“I think it’s cherry picking about who you think is a good person and if they’re doing what you think is right,” Lemon told CNN colleague Chris Cuomo. “I think everyone knows in the back of their minds, deep in their heart, what Colin Kaepernick did was courageous and heroic.”
But Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos noted that Kaepernick was not seen as someone who could “bring us together.”
“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,” Vos said.
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