Residents and Law Enforcement React to 49ers’ Quarterback Protest

WILKES-BARRE -- Colin Kaepernick and the sit down heard around the world.

The quarterback's recent comments about police brutality and his decision to  not stand during the national anthem have been a real hot button issue for folks around the country.

Newswatch 16 spoke with Hazleton Police Chief Jerry Speziale over the phone.

He took exception to the 49ers quarterback comments.

"To use such a broad brush and paint us a rouge police officers. We are not rouge police officers. Everyday I got up for the past thirty-six years, my mind was on serving the public," said Hazleton Police Chief Jerry Speziale.

He says the quarterback is a public figure, and there are more productive ways to protest.

"He has the same rights to express his freedoms but where to do that and when to do that its his decision to sit down during the national anthem. But I don't know what that does," said Speziale.

In Wilkes-Barre, football fans stood and sang the national anthem as the G.A.R Memorial High School took on Western Wayne High School at Wilkes-Barre memorial stadium.

Newswatch 16 caught up with fans in attendance who support the quarterback's protest.

"Everyone has their own way of handling situations, and that's his approach. I support him. He's the only one speaking out about it," said Katina Williams of Wilkes-Barre.

Others do not support his protest. Some people  believe the 49ers quarterback's message, protest by sitting,  is only bringing attention to himself and not the change Kaepernick wants.

"I think he's just making a lot of noise for himself," said Heather Hess of Waymart.

"I don't agree with the way he went about it by any means. Stand and be united at the flag...Don't separate yourself," said Kim Kuha of Hamlin.

In Thursday night’s game versus the San Diego Chargers, which is also Military Appreciation Night, Kaepernick along with teammate Safety Eric Reid took knees during the National Anthem. During part of the military ceremony, Kaepernick did clap for veterans.

Cornerback Jeremy Lane also sat during the National Anthem at the Seattle Seahawks vs. the Oakland Raiders game.


  • uncle tom

    How can non-whites in our country believe the system does not already favor them? With affirmative action the non-white unemployment rate should be 0%. We have had a non-white president for 8 years now. The majority of pro sports players are non-white multimillionaires. And about the police issue, law enforcement WILL go where the problems are when the problems occur. With all that being said,……why is this knucklehead protesting?

  • magicmikexxsm

    Colin has a right to do what he’s doing, but he should use some common sense, he’s not only effecting himself but the whole team….did you see his game last night? the stadium booed him on every play he was in………….Colin was a good running QB in college, had 1 good year in the NFL, now he’s basically washed up…..if the 9’ers are smart they part ways with him….

  • WTH

    Just another loud-mouth-loser using his fame and fortune to grandstand and hear himself talk instead of doing something progressive and positive. What these lefty-libz spew-n-do leads to everything BUT progress!

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