A South Dakota college student has come under fire for impersonating Colin Kaepernick with a blackface Halloween costume.
The white man, who identified himself as South Dakota State University student Cole Paulson, dressed up in blackface and a black wig as he knelt and held a sign reading: ‘Will stand for money’.
It was a reference to Kaepernick and other NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest social injustices, particularly against African-Americans.
A photo of Paulson was shared on Twitter on Friday and instantly went viral.
He defended himself on Twitter by insisting his intentions ‘were not racist whatsoever’.
Paulson has now apologized, telling the Argus Leader he feels ‘terrible’ for wearing blackface but reiterated that he was not intending to be racist.
‘I will be completely honest and tell you I was ignorant to the fact as to painting my face like that was racist,’ he said.
‘It was in no way my intention to offend the African-American community, and I have read many articles and documents since to educate myself on why it was wrong of me to do what I did.
‘I was contacted almost immediately about how it was wrong and proceeded to wash it off before I went anywhere. I wholeheartedly apologize as I feel horrible about my ignorance and offending many people I respect.’
The university said that Paulson isn’t currently enrolled but couldn’t immediately confirm whether he previously attended the school.
South Dakota State spokesman Mike Lockrem said the school was made aware of the photo Saturday morning and that the school’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Access ‘has reached out to the individual.’
‘Some dialogue has been started, but beyond that, I don’t have any information to the extent (of what has been said).’
Also a police officer working for the University of Nevada was wearing Kaepernick costume.
Photos emerged Sunday showing the officer, believed to be Antonio Gutierrez, wearing a prosthetic nose, an afro and dons a red shirt with ’49ers’ on it and the number seven.
He also carried a a sign that read: ‘Will stand for food’