The US Navy, on Sunday, distanced itself from the incident that occurred nearly two years ago, in which a Colin Kaepernick jersey was worn by a "target" during a military working dog demonstration.
Content warning: This report contains details of racism that readers may find disturbing
The Navy SEALs are under fire after a pair of racially insensitive videos from a fundraiser for the Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida, suddenly resurfaced on social media after months. The US Navy, on Sunday, distanced itself from the incident that occurred nearly two years ago, in which a Colin Kaepernick jersey was worn by a "target" during a military working dog demonstration. While the museum is not officially affiliated with the SEALs or the US military, several retired SEALs are listed on its board of directors and advisory board, reports ABC News.
The U.S. Navy is investigating an incident in which dogs attacked a "Colin Kaepernick stand-in" during a K-9 demonstration.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 3, 2020
The videos show four dogs attacking a man who is wearing a red Kaepernick football jersey. https://t.co/HKdvSiUF6P
The videos—originally shared on Instagram in January 2020—went viral earlier this week, drawing widespread criticism amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. In one of the videos, four military working dogs are seen charging towards a man wearing a red jersey emblazoned with Kaepernick's name and former player number over protective clothing. A crowd of spectators watched as the canines attacked the man, clinging to his arms and legs. Another video from the same demonstration shows men in military clothing performing a mock capture of the man after the dogs have been called off.
Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce used “Colin Kaepernick stand-in" for K-9 demonstration at fundraiser last year #BecauseFlorida https://t.co/COHFCeJ3GN pic.twitter.com/EpcELHxrSe— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) August 2, 2020
"Oh man, I'll stand," says the man in the jersey from the ground, evoking laughter from the watching crowd. The original videos have since been deleted. "The inherent message of this video is completely inconsistent with the values and ethos of Naval Special Warfare and the U.S. Navy. We are investigating the matter fully, and initial indications are that there were no active-duty Navy personnel or equipment involved with this independent organization's event," the Navy said in a statement, reports CNN.
In another video, after “Navy SEALs and Navy SEAL dogs take down Colin Kaepernick for not standing during National Anthem,” he moans something like, "Oh man, I will stand” #BecauseFlorida https://t.co/uZ3ervZguB pic.twitter.com/6vi1uCGIt5— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) August 2, 2020
On its website, the Navy SEAL Museum claims to promote "family-friendly public education through interactive exhibits and artifacts, allowing patrons the opportunity to explore the history and heritage of the Navy SEALs." It also states that the "initiatives of the Museum provide a glimpse into Navy SEAL training, as well as preserving the Navy SEAL standards of excellence: To place the welfare of other before self. To demonstrate uncompromising integrity. To lead and be led. To never quit. To persevere and thrive in adversity. To demand discipline. To expect innovation."
UPDATE: @us_navyseals statement says, "The inherent message of this video is completely inconsistent with the values and ethos of Naval Special Warfare and the U.S. Navy... There were no active duty Navy personnel or equipment involved with this independent organization's event." pic.twitter.com/iV9Tt0bNHV— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) August 2, 2020
Kaepernick, a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, has been unsigned to a team since 2017 after he became a polarizing figure for kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality. Despite its devastating impact on his professional and public profiles, he has never expressed regret for choosing to take a knee and has instead reiterated his support for the cause. It was only in June this year—at the peak of the nationwide protests following the murder of George Floyd—that the NFL commissioner apologized for the league's position on the issue.
US Navy Seals investigating after footage shows military dogs attacking a "stand-in" wearing a Colin Kaepernick shirt at an event last year https://t.co/VRDknBpB0b— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) August 3, 2020
"We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all players to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe that Black lives matter," he said at the time. Meanwhile, the dog demonstration appears to be one of several held that weekend by the museum that targeted Kaepernick's protests. Video of the museum's 33rd Annual Muster event in November 2018 also shows a mock military engagement with an SUV with "Take a knee eh Nike" painted in large letters on the side.
Colin Kaepernick won. When he started, just one athlete refused to stand for national anthem. Now, just one athlete refuses to kneel during anthem. In course of weeks, a complete collapse of hallowed American ritual. pic.twitter.com/lXrFQvNU5C— Byron York (@ByronYork) August 2, 2020
This seems to be a response to Nike featuring Kaepernick in a commercial after he had stopped playing in the NFL and also releasing a Kaepernick-branded shoe. A group entering the display area in the vehicle is seen being attacked by men in military fatigues—one of whom is seen carrying an American flag on his back—following which they lie down on the ground as though they had been shot.