Colin Kaepernick was lambasted for not voting in the 2016 election after he staged a politically divisive national anthem protest to bring attention to what he considers “oppression” of black people in America. Now, it appears the San Francisco 49ers quarterback has never voted in any election.
Kaepernick defended his decision not to vote on Sunday, telling reporters it would have been “hypocritical of me to vote” for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
“I said from the beginning I was against oppression, I was against the system of oppression. I’m not going to show support for that system,” he said. “And to me, the oppressor isn’t going to allow you to vote your way out of your oppression.”
But an investigation by The Sacramento Bee revealed Kaepernick has never been registered to vote in his entire life:
Kaepernick, who was raised in Turlock, turned 18 in 2005, but he has not registered to vote in California at any point in the last decade, according to records maintained by the California Secretary of State. He also did not register in Nevada while he attended the University of Nevada, Reno, from 2006 to 2010, according to the Washoe County Registrar of Voters.
That means he missed presidential elections in 2008 and 2012 – when Democrat Barack Obama was elected president – in addition to a variety of state and local elections in other years.
That means Kaepernick failed to cast a vote for the first black U.S. president.
Kaepernick made headlines earlier when he refused to stand for the national anthem, saying he refused to “show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” A handful of other NFL players joined Kaepernick’s protest, which became a controversial sideline distraction for the league.
ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith went on a memorable rant after learning of Kaepernick's 2016 no-vote: