Snoop Dogg suggested San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick should choose between football and "being a revolutionary," saying he appreciated that Kaepernick "brought something to America's attention that needed to be brought to their attention," namely police brutality's effect on minorities, but that there were too many things to deal with to focus on that and being a football player at the same time.
The rapper, appearing on Fox Sports' Undisputed, was also critical of Kaepernick's positive comments about Fidel Castro. Co-host Shannon Sharpe pointed out that the Castro regime killed people and that people died trying to escape Cuba. "As bad as things are in the U.S.," Sharpe noted, "people aren't dying to leave."
"He's kind of hypocritical in so many words," Snoop Dogg responded, "because he's pushing this, but at the same time he's giving credit for this, and it's the same abuse they've been taking."
After Castro's death, Kaepernick sought to defend his praise, saying he was only praising Castro for "investment" in education, "free universal healthcare," and "helping end apartheid" in South Africa.
"Trying to push the false narrative that I was a supporter of the oppressive things he did is just not true," said Kaepernick, who just last month explained that he didn't vote in the elections because it would be providing implicit support for an oppressive system. In that case, providing explicit praise to a murderous dictator would suggest providing at least implicit support for his oppressive system.
"And I don't even understand the Cuban thing so let me not speak on something I'm not really aware of, because now I look bad when I say something that I think I'm representing positive, but the whole community is really mad at me now for saying something I didn't even have no knowledge about," Snoop suggested of Kaepernick's comments on Castro, which came shortly before his death.
"That's why I say he doesn't have a team," Snoop Dogg explained. "If he had a team, they would tell him, you can't say this, this is what you need to say, it's preparation."
"When you want to be a revolutionary you have to be supported by a team, he didn't have a team supporting him," Snoop Dogg suggested toward the beginning of the interview. "He never had a team with structure, with protocol, what are we doing? Why are we addressing this situation? How are we going to handle it? What's the solution? He just brought it up, and it just was in the air, then everybody looked at him for answers, and he had no answers. He just was bringing it to people that this was a situation that we have to pay attention to."
Kaepernick's decision to take a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and other injustices in the U.S., like the fact that Hillary Clinton broke the law with her email but wasn't in prison, came in the summer of 2016. "So what is this country really standing for?" Kaepernick asked at his first press conference after beginning his protest.
The Clinton angle wasn't really picked up by the media, who focused instead on the bulk of Kaepernick's statements, about police brutality. Police brutality has been an issue that has animated activists and communities for decades. The militarized response to protests in Ferguson over a police shooting propelled the issue of police brutality into the national spotlight. Many people, like Snoop Dogg and the hosts of Undisputed, insist Kaepernick brought attention to the issue, but I haven't seen any polling to suggest Kaepernick had reached an audience that was unaware of the issue of police brutality before. Naturally, no matter how unproductive, or even counterproductive, Kaepernick's protest may be, he has a what ought to be unbounded right to self-expression, a First Amendment guarantee.
Nevertheless, Kaepernick's decision to focus on the problem and his protest of it, and not on solutions Black Lives Matter activists released more than a year and a half ago that have largely been ignored by the very people who insist they care deeply about the issue of police violence is a counterproductive one. Perhaps I've missed it, but I have not heard Kaepernick or any other celebrity glomming on to the issue of police violence mention Black Lives Matters' Campaign Zero initiative a single time.