The alt-right’s logic: if you sit during the national anthem you hate America, and since all Muslims hate America, Kaepernick must be one. The rumor was mainstreamed by Fox News, where hosts even alluded to Kaepernick’s supposed conversion to Islam.
On Wednesday, Kaepernick made an announcement denying he was Muslim:
“I have great respect for the religion, know a lot of people that are Muslim and are phenomenal people... I think that [rumor] comes along with people’s fear of this protest, as well as Islamophobia in this country. People are terrified of them to the point where Trump wants to ban all Muslims from coming here, which is ridiculous.”
In the same way conservatives have dismissed President Barack Obama’s birth certificate and continued circulating the “birther” issue, Kaepernick’s statement will likely go ignored. In so doing, the alt-right hopes to achieve a larger objective: to confuse the problem of racial injustice with that of “radical Islam.”