Wednesday 27 September 2017

Soldier sparks controversy with support of Kaepernick

Second Lt. Spenser Rapone shared this photograph on Twitter on Sunday under the hashtag #VeteransforKaepernick. It was taken during his May 2016 graduation from West Point and reveals his that he had 'communism will win' inside his cap 

A US Army soldier has sparked controversy after revealing his communist beliefs by sharing his support of Colin Kaepernick and the NFL protests online. 

Second Lt. Spenser Rapone, 25, shared a photograph on Twitter this week that showed him dressed in his West Point Cadet Uniform with the words 'communism will win' written on the underside of his cap.

The photograph was taken in May 2016 at his graduation ceremony. 
When he posted it online on Sunday, he wrote the hashtag #VeteransforKaepernick with it. 
It was a nod to he current row between NFL players who have been condemned by President Trump for taking a knee during the National Anthem as a sign of protest. 

Kaepernick, a former San Francisco 49ers who has earned an estimated $22million from his NFL career, started the trend last year when he refused to stand in protest against police brutality against black Americans. 

Rapone's tweet went viral, sparking criticism, praise and confusion. 
Many questioned whether it was genuine and assumed he was mocking the athlete. 
To set them straight, he shared another photograph on Monday which showed him revealing a Che Guevara t-shirt beneath another uniform. 

'In case there was any lingering doubt, hasta la victoria siempre,' he wrote, citing the slogan which is tied to Guevara's legacy. 

Kaepernick has never declared himself a communist. He was raised by a white Wisconsin couple who adopted him after birth and has earned a reported $22million from his NFL career. 

Rapone was eager to share his solidarity with the 29-year-old's protest. 
Since the weekend, he has also retweeted the posts of other soldiers who have spoken out in support of Kaepernick and other athletes who have defied President Trump by taking a knee at sporting events across the country since he made the remarks last week. 
Rapone is not the only veteran or serviceman or woman to share his view on the subject but his posts have landed him in hot water. 

Because he was in uniform when he bore the pro-communist statements, he may be in breach of military laws which forbid political protests while serving. 
Outraged Twitter users tagged West Point, the US Army Preparatory school in New York of which he is a graduate, in their responses to Rapone's tweet. 

On Monday, he shared another photograph which showed him wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt beneath his West Point uniform in 2016. Army officials are now investigating the images which may prove Rapone breached army rules prohibiting soldiers from making political statements while in uniform 

Rapone was inundated with criticism online by Twitter users who called him a 'traitor' and said he was 'disgracing the uniform' 

The Democratic Socialists of America Veterans Working Group stood by him in their own message

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