Michigan State Police director under fire for message calling NFL players 'degenerates' for protest

Group calls for state police director to be removed after Facebook post

DETROIT – The director of the Michigan State Police has commented on NFL players protesting during the national anthem by posting a message calling them "degenerates."

The message shared by Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue on her Facebook page calls the players "millionaire ingrates who hate America and disrespect our armed forces," according to the Associated Press. The post since has been deleted. 

Michigan State Police released a message from Etue on Tuesday night:

"It was a mistake to share this message on Facebook and I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended. I will continue my focus on unity at the Michigan State Police and in communities across Michigan."

Group calls for state police director to be removed

The Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality is calling for Etue to be removed from her position. The coalition calls her post "egregious and racist." 

"This woman, who called the black athletes who courageously engage in completely non-violent protest  'a bunch of rich, entitled, arrogant, ungrateful, anti-American degenerates,' has unveiled an invective of insults reminiscent of our worst examples of racism, hailing back to when blacks were called 'uppity' for daring to speak out against unfair laws and abusive treatment," said Coalition spokesperson Kenneth Reed. "In this, she echoes an equally racist President Trump by amplifying his vulgar comments of a few days ago, when he called our athletes 'SOBs'. Her comments were highly provocative and her heightened rhetoric will only serve to exacerbate tensions between State police and citizens, ultimately leading to even more violence between police and citizens--violence that could eclipse the Rebellion of 1967.

"Etue's words simply reflect the continued racist actions of the Michigan State Police, both in how they treat our citizens and in how their hiring demographics fail to even approach equity. There needs to be complete overhaul of the Department, and we urge the Michigan Black Caucus to call an emergency meeting to address the issue and develop a list of demands on behalf of 'We the People.'

"Etue needs to go...now."

The taking of a knee during the national anthem was started by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to draw attention to social inequality and police treatment of blacks.

Governor won't fire or ask director to resign

A spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Snyder said the governor will not fire or ask Etue to resign over this Facebook post. 

"The Colonel said she made a mistake and publicly apologized. She has served with distinction as an outstanding public servant for decades," Ann Heaton wrote in an email to Local 4 and ClickOnDetroit. 


About the Authors:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.