Everyone Missed Colin Kaepernick’s First Protest Because No One Really Cares About Socks

Colin Kaepernick wore socks that depicted cops as pigs. People will surely react calmly.

Sep 1 2016, 4:15pm

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Long before he ever sat down during the national anthem before 49ers preseason games, Colin Kaepernick was making another silent point—with his socks. The picture above is from a San Francisco practice on August 10th, four days before the 49ers first preseason game and, four days before the first time Kaepernick sat for the national anthem. No one really noticed the socks at the time, but now that the whole world is on KaepWatch, the weeks-old pictures are spreading like wildfire.

CBS Sports seems to have been the first to notice, in a shamelessly titled post: "Colin Kaepernick's Sock Appear to Disrespect the Police." The San Francisco police union letter excoriating Kaep is surely forthcoming.

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

A few things are worth highlighting here. First, to those who criticized Kaepernick for the method of his protest, as well as the timing: is this better? He's pretty clearly been making a statement for nearly a month, and his first choice was socks. Is that OK? Just want to know if we have more rules to get caught up on.

Second, Colin Kaepernick has never once brought attention to himself doing this. No one knew about these socks until today. And no one noticed Kaepernick's national anthem sit down until three weeks in and Steve Wyche asked him about it. Kaepernick didn't make a show of the socks, or the anthem, he didn't hold a press conference to say what he felt. A reporter noticed something weird, and he answered honestly. After three-plus weeks of quietly going about his business.

Third, this should make it clear that Kaepernick's beef is indeed with police brutality, which somehow got lost in the conversation—even though he explicitly said that's what he was talking about—because our country can't seem to differentiate between the flag and the national anthem, and the military.

San Francisco's final tune-up is in San Diego tonight. The Chargers graciously chose this final, worthless preseason game to honor the military—should be interesting.

Update: Kaepernick addressed the socks on an Instagram post: