GOP Lawmaker Uses MLB Star’s Death To Bash National Anthem Protests

“To all who will kneel during the anthem today — just remember how Jose Fernandez risked his life just for the chance to stand for it,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz.

José Fernández

The unexpected death of Miami Marlin pitcher José Fernández left the entire nation reeling in shock. However, a Florida lawmaker could not even wait a day before exploiting the tragic loss and turning it into an excuse to smear the athletes who are taking the knee during national anthem.

Almost an hour after the news of 24-year-old MLB star’s death surfaced, GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz took to Twitter to comment on the tragedy and sparked a massive backlash by using the incident to score a cheap political point.

Smearing the countrywide protests against racial inequality and police brutality, Gaetz took a tactless shot at San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Fernandez, who escaped from Cuba by boat on his fourth try as a teenager, was killed in a boating accident off Miami Beach in the early hours of Sunday.

Twitter users were quick to criticize Gaetz for exploiting the MLB star’s death.

Read More: How Many People Have Cops Killed Since Kaepernick Began Protesting?

Meanwhile, Gaetz appeared to stand his ground amid the criticism.

“My point is that while America remains imperfect, so many do so much to enjoy our freedoms. Seems ungrateful to kneel. Just my opinion,” he replied to a critic.

Read More: Oakland School Band Kneels In Solidarity With Colin Kaepernick