GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Republicans who control the Wisconsin Senate are refusing to mention NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in a resolution honoring Black History Month.
On a party line vote Wednesday, the Senate passed the resolution and rejected calls from Democrats who said ignoring the Wisconsin native put them on the wrong side of history.
No Republicans spoke during the Senate debate.
Democratic Sen. Lena Taylor, who is black, argued "white Republicans" shouldn't dictate who should be honored during Black History Month.
A day earlier in the Assembly, Democratic Rep. David Crowley, who leads the black caucus, presented a Black History Month resolution that included Kaepernick. Crowley said black people should be able to honor who they want.
"The fact that they can sit there and say that we are not going to take up or recognize who black people want to recognize let's us know that we still have a long way to go when it comes down to equity," Rep. Crowley said in a phone interview with Action 2 News.
The Assembly ultimately approved a resolution that did not include a mention of Kaepernick. Republican Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke said Kaepernick was not named because he is a controversial figure.
"It had to do with the fact that just hours earlier, we were honoring four law enforcement officers that had courageously risked their lives during the Middleton shooting," Rep. Steineke told Action 2 News by phone. "It just didn't seem appropriate at the same time to honor an individual in Colin Kaepernick that has likened law enforcement officers to the runaway slave patrol."
Kaepernick drew criticism when he began kneeling before the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and racial inequality.