Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who made headlines during the 2016 football season when he refused to stand for the U.S. national anthem ahead of games, donated US$50,000 to home-delivery food charity Meals on Wheels as part of his Million Dollar Pledge initiative.
“Thank you @Kaepernick7 for supporting seniors through your words and actions,” Meals on Wheels said in a tweet Tuesday.
The donation came a few days after the Trump administration revealed its proposed budget cuts that would see Meals on Wheels America, the umbrella organization for 5,000 providers of home-delivered meals for seniors and poor people, lose a big portion of its federal funding.
President Donald Trump's first budget proposal announced Thursday includes a 17.9 percent cut for fiscal 2018 in funds for the Department of Health and Human Services, which provides most of the government support for Meals on Wheels, the organization said.
The organization announced on Saturday that it received a surge in donations after the proposed budget cuts were revealed compared with US$1,000 on a typical day.
Since October, the NFL star has donated US$100,000 a month to various groups, the New York Daily News reported. Kaepernick has listed each donation on his website which says he has donated US$400,000 so far.
In January, the last month listed on kaepernick7.com, he donated US$25,000 each to Black Veterans for Social Justice, environmental group 350.org, the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York, and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.
Kaepernick ignited a national debate in 2016 over the role of sports celebrities in politics when he decided in August to kneel during the U.S. national anthem ahead of every game of the season as a protest against police brutality against Black people and other people of color.
His action gained nationwide support, with other athletes joining his protest, while some pro-military and police factions slammed his action as anti-U.S. and unpatriotic.
Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers, becoming a free agent for the 2017 season. ESPN reported earlier in March that he has said he will stand during the national anthem next season.
During his presidential campaign, Trump joined in on the attacks against Kaepernick and is now taking credit for the former 49ers free-agent status.
“There was an article today that was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that?” the president said to applause at a campaign-style rally in Louisville.
“I said, ‘If I remember that one, I’m going to report it to the people of Kentucky because they like it when people stand for the American flag,’ right?”