Saltalamacchia calls Kaepernick's behavior 'disgusting'
Detroit Tigers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was not pleased by the decision of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to refuse to stand during the U.S. national anthem on Aug. 26 against the Green Bay Packers.
After Kaepernick explained his reasoning behind not standing was related to the country's mistreatment of minorities, Saltalamacchia provided some blunt comments about the situation to reporters, including George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press.
"He needs to go back to the history books and realize what that flag represents and what a lot of people have sacrificed for it," Saltalamacchia explained. "Has nothing to do with his comments, that’s for sure.
"It’s pretty disgusting."
The 28-year-old Kaepernick, who has refused to stand during a pre-season game before, said he was aware his decision could become an issue and that it might not sit well with people.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Kaepernick's reluctance to stand and his comments afterwards certainly angered Saltalamacchia, who prides himself on his patriotism towards his homeland.
"If he truly feels that’s what the flag represents, he’s mistaken," Saltalamacchia said. "That flag represents a lot of people that sacrificed their lives for him to be able to play the game for one, but to be able to say what he wants to say.
"I’ve got a lot of friends in the military, family members who are in the military. I’ve got police officers in the family. Dad’s a firefighter, Mom’s a nurse. My grandfather’s chief of police for 30, 40 years down in West Palm Beach. I’ve got a buddy that’s in a K-9 unit."
The veteran backstop went on to explain that standing for the anthem means a lot to him and Kaepernick's actions were uncalled for.
"It means more to me than the game in general,” Saltalamacchia said of the red, white and blue. "That flag is the reason I’m able to play this game. I’m never tired of it. I’m never tired of hearing (the anthem). I do get upset when I see people talking during it. I get upset when I see people with hats on."