AceShowbiz - Padma Lakshmi has provoked a debate over her support for Colin Kaepernick. A few hours before the quarterback's former team, the San Francisco 49ers, took on the Kansas City Chiefs at Super Bowl LIV, the "Top Chef" host let out a photo of her wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with his name and his old number.
The 49-year-old TV personality made use of her Instagram account on Sunday, February 2 to share the controversial post. Along with "superbowllliv" and "kaepernick" hashtags, she raved in the caption section of the photo, "Shout out to courage @kaepernick7."
Lakshmi's post quickly drew backlash from some of her followers. One replied, "Just lost all respect for you !" Another ordered, "Get that disgusting shirt off." A third questioned her shout-out, "What courage? Kneeling for the national anthem? Wearing a shirt with Fadel Castros picture on it? Making more money bashing the US than playing football?" A fourth added, "Booo. You anti america too? Sad."
Not all of Lakshmi's fans were in agreement though. Many were still supportive of her stance. "Bless your heart..and his," a follower backed her. Another fan wrote, "Awesome shirt, Padma, and as someone that served 23 years in the military, I couldn't agree with you more." A third called her "an awesome human being" before adding, "I didn't realize how politically and socially conscious you are. Hella appreciate that you use your platform this way. #ImWithKaep."
Kaepernick himself sparked controversy back in 2016 when he chose to kneel down during the national anthem before a game as a show of protest against racial inequality. He has since been a free agent, but has yet to be signed by any NFL team. In October 2017, the 32-year-old athlete filed collusion grievance against the league and its owners for colluding to deprive him of employment rights.
Lakshmi was not the only star showing support to Kaepernick on Sunday. "Selma" director Ava DuVernay declared on Twitter, "Today during the Super Bowl, the National Football League and its allies will sanitize and co-opt a black protest movement. I refuse to watch that happen before my eyes as if it's all good. Some things are worth more than an afternoon of football."