Navy SEALs cut ties with museum over Colin Kaepernick video

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DELRAY BEACH, FLA. – The Commander of the Navy SEALs said the unit will suspend support for the National Navy SEAL Museum, a nonprofit organization not supervised by the military after videos of dogs attacking man wearing Colin Kaepernick swimsuit were posted online during a demonstration. “Each of us serves to protect our fellow Americans – ALL Americans. Even the perception that our commitment to serving the men and women of this nation is applied unevenly is destructive, ”said Rear Admiral Collin Green, who heads Naval Special Warfare. Command, said in an email to his forces on Monday evening.

He added: “We will return to our relationship with the Museum when I am satisfied that it has made the necessary changes to ensure that this type of behavior does not happen again.”

In the letter, Green said, “Although the museum is an independent, non-profit organization and the participants were contract employees outside of the DoD, in many ways these facts are irrelevant. We have been inextricably linked to this organization which represents our history. . ”

“We may not have contributed to the misperception in this case, but we are suffering from it and we will not let it continue,” he said.

The letter was provided to The Associated Press by a member of the service on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to do so. Museum officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment from the PA.

The letter comes a day after a pair of videos from an event at the museum in Fort Pierce, Fla. Last year surfaced on social media on Sunday. The videos quickly garnered over 6.7 million views.

In one of the videos, gunmen – wearing camouflage and tactical gear – order four dogs to attack a man wearing protective gear and the red and white Kaepernick San Francisco 49ers jersey. A second video shows a dog biting the man in the jersey as he lies down on the ground. An individual with a rifle approaches and orders him to roll over onto his stomach. The man in the jersey replies, “Oh man, I’m gonna get up,” a joke aimed at bringing Kaepernick to his knees during the national anthem to draw attention to racial injustice and police brutality.

Naval Special Warfare Command condemned the video and said in a statement on Twitter on Sunday: “We are fully investigating the matter and the first indications are that there were no personnel or equipment from the active duty marine involved in the event of this independent organization. ”

On social media, the video met with mixed perceptions, with some seeing the protest as further evidence to indict and demand reforms of systemic racism within government institutions, especially after civil unrest and protests in the country after the murder of George Floyd. Others found no problem with the video due to their disagreement with Kaepernick’s protests during the national anthem which they deem unpatriotic and disrespectful to the memory of fallen servicemen, a view shared by President Donald Trump.

Kaepernick, 32, began his protests in 2016 and began kneeling during the national anthem after Nate Boyer, a former Army Special Forces soldier who tried as a long snapper for the Seattle Seahawks , suggested. The former San Francisco quarterback and other players faced an intense backlash. But a number of athletes have started to kneel down after nationwide protests broke out over George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minneapolis in May.

The video comes to light at a volatile time for Naval Special Warfare Command as it continues to face disciplinary breakdowns within its base. Amid the publicity of the war crimes trial of Special Operations Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher last year, Green told his forces “we have a problem” among the Navy SEALs “that must be resolved immediately,” according to the New York Times.

Last year’s letter came amid a wave of other scandals such as a platoon of naval commandos that were abruptly withdrawn from Iraq after an alcohol-fueled July 4th party and a alleged rape of a female service member. In another incident, SEALs from another unit abused cocaine and bypassed drug tests with clean samples.

“We own our relationship with the American people and we must honor it,” Green said in his letter Monday. “We also own our relationship with each other, and our teammates will all be given the dignity and respect they deserve. “

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