After supporting Serena Williams during her catsuit controversy last month, ex-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has now come to the defense of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has not been included in this year’s season.
Kaepernick was the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem, in a move to protest against racism.
“The #NFL season will start this week, unfortunately once again @Kaepernick7 is not on a NFL roster. Even though he is one of the best Quarterbacks in the league,” Ahmadinejad tweeted.
Kaepernick was a quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers for six years.
He stirred a national controversy by taking a knee while the anthem was played before games during the NFL's 2016 season to draw attention to police killings of black men and other issues.
The anthem protests, soon embraced by other players, raised the ire of some NFL fans and US President Donald Trump, who has said he would love to see NFL owners fire football players who disrespect the American flag.
Kaepernick and another former 49ers player, Eric Reid, have not been signed by any of the NFL's 32 teams since their protests spread around the league. Both have filed collusion grievances against NFL owners.
Ahmadinejad’s tweet drew attention from US Senator Ted Cruz.
“When a radical anti-Semite, anti-American Iranian dictator emphatically agrees with you, maybe that’s a sign that Beto, the NFL, and Nike are all on the wrong side of the American people....” Cruz tweeted.
When a radical anti-Semite, anti-American Iranian dictator emphatically agrees with you, maybe that’s a sign that Beto, the NFL, and Nike are all on the wrong side of the American people.... https://t.co/7MYcLfIsBz— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) September 4, 2018
Last month, tennis star Serena Williams received support over her recent catsuit controversy also from Ahmadinejad.
Many outlets are commenting on the unexpected tweets from the former Iranian leader.
“With his let Serena wear the catsuit and do not blacklist Colin Kaepernick tweets, Ahmadinejad is now in like the 95th percentile of hot-takers on the subject of American professional sports. Truly we live in a deeply confusing time,” wrote US news site Deadspin.