Swimsuit model Kate Upton has branded the National Football League players taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem “disgraceful.”
Upton—who sprang to fame not as a political theorist but as the 18-year-old star of a viral video after doing the Dougie at a Los Angeles Clippers game—took to Twitter on Sunday to accuse the players of a lack of respect for their country and the U.S. armed forces.
The players’ protest during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which is designed to criticize the criminal-justice system’s treatment of minorities, was initiated by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the preseason. Kaepernick has said, “When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”
The symbolic gesture is now being performed by other NFL players. Several Miami Dolphins players took a knee as the national anthem was being played prior to Sunday’s Week 1 game against the Seattle Seahawks. Players Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas, Arian Foster, and Jelani Jenkins all made the gesture of solidarity during the anthem.
On Sunday evening, it was apparently time for Upton to join the fray, she aimed her displeasure at the Dolphins’ players, accusing them of a lack of patriotism.
Upton’s remarks triggered an instant backlash on social media, with critics piling in on her, claiming she was attempting to censor the players’ freedom of expression.
Others drew attention to the voting record of her uncle, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI).
Perhaps belatedly realizing that messages of 140 characters or less were not the ideal format for a complex political discussion, Upton moved her thoughts to the more expansive medium of Instagram.