Colin Kaepernick has gone through a lot changes this offseason — he grew out his hair, he lost weight and he’s now a vegan, just to name a few of those changes. However, one change he didn’t go through is a change of his religion.
During his weekly press conference on Wednesday, the quarterback debunked the internet rumors that claimed his girlfriend had convinced him to convert to Islam and become a Muslim.
“I have great respect for the religion, know a lot of people that are Muslim and are phenomenal people, but I think that (rumor of conversion) comes along with people’s fear of this protest, as well as Islamophobia in this country,” Kaepernick said, via USA Today. “People are terrified of them to the point where Trump wants to ban all Muslims from coming here, which is ridiculous.”
The rumors of a Kaepernick religious conversion started shortly after the 49ers quarterback went public with his first national anthem protest on Aug. 26. The rumor then gained some steam when it was mentioned on Fox News.
Kaepernick revealed on Wednesday that yes, his girlfriend Nessa Diab is Muslim, but converting isn’t something he’s planning on doing anytime soon. Right now, Kaepernick says the only impact the religion has on him is through Diab.
“The impact is just conversations that we constantly have,” Kaepernick said. “This is an open discussion that I have with many people, not just my woman. She is Muslim, her family is Muslim, I have great respect for them. I have great respect for people’s right to believe what they want to believe. And I don’t think anybody should be prosecuted for judged based on what their beliefs all.”
Kaepernick felt the need to clarify the rumors about his religion because he didn’t want the message in his protest getting lost.
The quarterback also added that he believes more players would be protesting with him if they didn’t have to worry about consequences, like getting cut.
“I think there are a lot of players that feel the same way,” Kaepernick said of his protest. “They’re just nervous about consequences that come with it and a lot of them have families to feed, and I think that’s a tragic situation where players aren’t comfortable speaking what’s really on their mind and what’s right because they’re afraid of consequences that come along with it.”
Kaepernick says that one of the biggest reasons that he’s protesting is because of police brutality. The quarterback says that cops are targeting minorities, and he wants to see that stopped.
“That’s not an ideal for anybody and I think it also speaks to the oppression and culture that we have here where if you don’t fall in line then we’re going to get you out,” Kaepernick said.
The 49ers’ backup quarterback plans to continue his protest during the team’s season opener against the Rams on Monday night.
Source: CBS Sports / Kaepernick says he’s not Muslim, blames rumor on American Islamaphobia