San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has received death threats and the dubious title of the most disliked player in the NFL this week.
But there are plenty of people who like what Kaep's been doing, too: Not standing during the national anthem over issues of equity and police brutality.
And now, the QB has an Oakland artist who's got his back.
A muralist who signed the work "FLC" painted a striking image of Kaepernick on what appears to be the back of a garbage structure at 22nd Street and Telegraph Avenue. Across the athlete's face are the words "We Got Your Back." A mural of Ray Charles is on the other side of the wall, and the entire art piece is a block or two away from the Oakland Burmese Mission Baptist Church and a main thoroughfare in the downtown-to-Temescal district.
The image caught the eye of Pendarvis Harshaw, 29, a journalist and senior communications associate at PolicyLink, who saw it on Thursday walking home from work. After tweeting out a picture of it, Harshaw garnered nearly 1,000 retweets in 15 hours.
"The illustration speaks volumes," Harshaw said. "It's about the community rallying around the athlete." But he also noted how significant that is in Oakland, home to the rival football team, the Raiders. Oaklanders usually never tip their hats across the bay to the San Francisco 49ers.
Kaerpernick has indeed divided the country over what constitutes patriotism and received scorn in less progressive parts of the United States. But the biracial football player is a hero to many in Oakland. Several high school students are now starting to grow out their hair in full Afros, which Kaepernick sported a couple of weeks ago. The city of Oakland is comprised of roughly 30 percent African Americans, compared to the rest of the Bay Area, which has just about 7 percent, Census data shows.
Most recently, his coach, Chip Kelly, who is white, told reporters Thursday afternoon that he also believes his quarterback is standing up, or sitting down, for the right reasons.
"He's shedding light on a situation that is heinous, it shouldn't happen in this country," Kelly said, regarding police shootings of black men. "You look at what's going on in Tulsa and Charlotte in the last two nights — it's an issue that's in the forefront of our country. It needs to be addressed. It needs to be taken care of because it's not right."