After Michigan State Police Director Col. Kristy Kibbey Etue shared a meme on Facebook calling football players who choose to take a knee during the national anthem “rich, entitled, arrogant, ungrateful, anti-American degenerates,” 85,000 people are demanding Gov. Rick Snyder fire her.
Recently, football players have come under fire for kneeling during the national anthem at games following the act of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem is believed to have prevented him from finding a job with another NFL team. At the collegiate level, football players recently knelt at the University of Michigan football game against Michigan State to protest racism.
Soon after Etue shared the meme on her personal account, Michigan State Police released an apology statement on Facebook.
“It was a mistake to share this message on Facebook and I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended,” the social media post read. “I will continue my focus on unity at the Michigan State Police and in communities across Michigan.”
Snyder did not comment on whether he agreed with the post, but released a statement saying Etue is working to resolve her mistake.
“Col. Etue posted something on social media that was inappropriate,” Snyder said. “She immediately apologized and has acted to demonstrate that apology, including facilitating meetings with various groups to hear concerns and to share the work the Michigan State Police does in cities and neighborhoods.”
Regardless, Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, organized a tele-press conference and petition to have Etue removed. Progress Michigan and Rep. Leslie Love, D-Detroit, joined the tele-press conference, which took place after petitions urging Etue’s firing were delivered to Snyder.
“Governor Snyder has a decision to make — which side of history does he want to be on? Colonel Etue has made her decision,” Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color for Change, said in a statement. “NFL players who have kneeled during the national anthem have used their national stage to bring attention to an epidemic of systemic violence against Black and Brown people.
Prior to the conference and petitions, Snyder’s only disciplinary action against Etue was a five-day pay dock. The petitions written by Color of Change demand Snyder fire Etue and ask for an investigation into the department’s handling of Damon Grime’s death.
“Colonel Etue used her stage to racially attack these brave men as ‘ingrates’ and ‘degenerates’ for voicing their opinions. And behind those words lay a disturbing record of failing to hold police accountable for killing Black people and overseeing a department that is severely lacking in diversity,” Robinson continued in the statement. “Michigan needs leadership that will work with communities to end racism not denigrate and silence those who are calling for change.”