A U.S. Navy admiral who condemned San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during a Pearl Harbor memorial Wednesday received praise from his audience.
“You can bet that the men and women that we honor today — and those who died that fateful morning 75 years ago — never took a knee and never failed to stand when they heard our national anthem being played,” said Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., U.S. Pacific Command Commander, at a service in Honolulu.
The crowd gave Harris a standing ovation for his comment.
“Hearing the words, ‘The land of the free and home of the brave’ means something special for every American, every day,” he continued. “But today, on Dec. 7, it takes on extraordinary significance.”
The Department of Defense promoted Harris’ comments on Twitter, but the update has since been deleted. The tweet contained a video documenting his speech.
Kaepernick made headlines in preseason games when he sat, and then later kneeled, during the National Anthem.
Kaepernick has continued his protest during the regular season over what he calls racist police practices and behavior, according to CNN.
Throughout the season, a handful of other NFL players have remained seated during the National Anthem at their respective games to stand in unity with Kaepernick.
Last Sunday prior to his team’s game in Chicago, the 49ers quarterback once again chose to kneel, in part to recognize the death of Fred Hampton, a Black Panther leader.
“There are a lot of issues that still need to be addressed,” Kaepernick told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Being in Chicago, being able to acknowledge a black figure, a black leader like him is very important, and his role as a leader in this community and bringing this community together is something that needs to be acknowledged.”
Kaepernick was benched during his team’s 26-6 loss in Chicago.