SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KTVU) - He made a big political statement by refusing to stand during the national anthem. Now 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is facing criticism for not voting in the presidential election. In fact, he's never registered to vote. Kaepernick defended his decision and said there are other ways to create change besides voting.
It was a knee that created a national firestorm. Kaepernick protested racial inequality by taking a knee during the national anthem at NFL games. Other players followed suit. Now comes revelations reported by the Sacramento Bee and verified by KTVU, Kaepernick has never voted.
"I think that's deplorable," said Quincy Virgilio of Campbell. "I don’t want to use Hillary's terms but that's deplorable. You have the right to do what you want to do but you have the obligation to vote. That's your duty. It's your American liberty."
"I don't care whether he votes or not but I could say if he doesn't vote he shouldn't complain," said Tracy Plummer of Lake Arrowhead.
On Sunday, Kaepernick admitted he was among the millions of Americans who didn't vote in the presidential election. He said he felt the candidates and the system were flawed. At the 49ers locker room, he echoed that sentiment when asked why he didn't bother to register to vote.
"Once again I will address that," said Kaepernick. "I don't agree with the system of oppression. That's something I will continue to not agree with."
Later on, he was asked how could he advocate for change without voting.
"There's more than one way to create change," said Kaepernick.
At the Garret Sports Bar in Campbell, fans had strong reaction. Many of them saying he's setting a bad example.
"If that's the system he believes is wrong well it's the same system that gives him the right to protest so you can't have it one way or the other," said Virgilio.
"I actually saw Kaepernick's political views as a bright sport in an otherwise sad season for the 49ers but hearing this takes away from the faith that I had in him," said Bradford Williams of San Jose.
All of them are believing democracy is not a spectator sport.
"If you want to have change you have to affect change everyway you can and just having a silent protest isn't going to do that," said Michelle Marshall of San Jose. "It has to be more."
Kaepernick has pledged to donate more than $1 million to organizations that help address racial bias. Sports fans said that's great but if you don't vote it lacks credibility.