FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016 file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick walks off the field after warm ups before an NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers in San Diego. The Santa Clara police chief has vowed to continue providing a safe environment at San Francisco home games after the union representing his officers threatened to boycott policing the stadium if the 49ers don't discipline Kaepernick for criticizing police and refusing to stand during the national anthem. Chief Michael Sellers said in a statement Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, that he will urge union leadership to put citizens' safety first. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File)
An open letter Chris Amos, a retired police officer, husband and father of three wrote to embattled 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose protest of police brutality by sitting through the national anthem has been widely criticized, discussed and, in some cases, defended, has gone viral.
Kaepernick continued his protest Thursday night and said he plans to do so until he sees “significant change.” But before that Thursday night preseason finale in San Diego on “Salute to the Military” night, Chris Amos penned a lengthy open letter.
Amos began by discussing all of the similarities he sees between himself and Kaepernick. Then there’s the plot twist.
Here's what Amos wrote:
Dear Colin guess you have been pretty busy these last few days. For the record I don’t think any more or less of you for not standing for the National Anthem. Honestly, I never thought that much about you, or any professional athlete for that matter, to begin with. I’ve read your statement a few times and want you to know I am one of the reasons you are protesting. You see I am a retired police officer that had the misfortune of having to shoot and kill a 19-year-old African American male. And just like you said, I was the recipient of about $3,000 a month while on leave which was a good thing because I had to support a wife and three children under 7-years-old for about 2 months with that money. Things were pretty tight because I couldn’t work part time. Every police officer I’ve ever known has worked part-time to help make ends meet.
You know Colin the more I think about it the more we seem to have in common. I really pushed myself in rehab to get back on the street, kind of like you do to get back on the field. You probably have had a broken bone or two and some muscle strains and deep bruising that needed a lot of work. I just had to bounce back from a gunshot wound to the chest and thigh. Good thing we both get paid when we are too banged up to “play”, huh? We both also know what it’s like to get blindsided. You by a 280- pound defensive end, ouch! Me, by a couple of rounds fired from a gun about 2 feet away, into my chest and thigh. We also both make our living wearing uniforms, right? You have probably ruined a jersey or two on the field of play. I still have my blood stained shirt that my partner and paramedics literally ripped off my back that cold night in January. Fortunately, like you I was given a new one. Speaking of paramedics aren’t you glad the second we get hurt trainers and doctors are standing by waiting to rush onto the field to scoop us up. I’m thankful they get to you in seconds. It only took them about 10 minutes to get to me. By the grace of God, the artery in my thigh didn’t rupture or else 10 minutes would have been about 9 minutes too late. We also have both experienced the hate and disgust others have just because of those uniforms we wear. I sure am glad for your sake that the folks who wear my uniform are on hand to escort you and those folks that wear your uniform into stadiums in places like Seattle!
I guess that’s where the similarities end Colin. You entertain for a living, I and almost 800,000 others across this country serve and protect. Are there some bad apples within my profession? Absolutely and they need to be identified and fired or arrested! But you know what, the vast majority do the right thing, the right way, for the right reason. Did I mention that seconds before I was shot, an elderly African American gentleman walking down the sidewalk, turned to my partner and I as we rode past and said, “Get them.” Get who you ask? The thugs terrorizing an otherwise good and decent neighborhood, home to dozens of good, decent African American families trying to raise those families in communities not protected by gates and security guards. No these folks and families depend on America’s Law Enforcement Officers.
Colin I have buried 7 friends, killed in the line of duty and three others who have committed suicide. I have attended more funerals than I care to remember of neighboring departments who have lost officers in the line of duty, during my career. Law Enforcement Officers with different backgrounds, upbringings, and experiences united by their willingness to answer the call to protect and serve their fellow citizens.
Colin I am sorry for the endorsement deals you may lose and the dip in jersey sales, but please know you will NEVER lose what these men and women and their families have lost. And so whether you stand or sit during the National Anthem means very little to me. As for me and the men and women on whose team I was privileged to serve, we will put on our ballistic vests, badge, and gun, kiss our loved one’s goodbye, for some tragically for the last time, and out into a shift of uncertainty we will go. We will continue to protectand continue to serve and we will be standing at attention Colin, not just for the playing of our National Anthem, but far more importantly for the playing of Taps.
Amos’s post has been shared more than 35,000 times.