Naval Special Warfare Command is suspending its support of the Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida days after a video showing SEAL dogs attacking a man wearing a Colin Kaepernick jersey in a demo there went viral on social media.
The museum is conducting a review of the demonstration, which showed military working dogs attacking a man in Kaepernick's San Francisco 49ers jersey. Kaepernick famously refused to stand during "The Star-Spangled Banner," citing protest of racial inequality.
Rear Adm. Collin Green, the head of Naval Special Warfare Command, said the underlying message in the museum's video is unacceptable.
"We will revisit our relationship with the Museum when I am convinced that they have made the necessary changes to ensure this type of behavior does not happen again," Green wrote in a Monday email to his force, which was first reported by The Associated Press.
The Navy SEAL Museum did not return requests for comment. A spokesman for Naval Special Warfare Command confirmed that Green sent the message, but declined to comment further.
Green wrote that there's no indication that any Navy special operators, personnel, equipment or animals were involved in the demonstration. While the museum is an independent nonprofit organization, he said, the Navy SEALs "have been inextricably linked to this organization that represents our history."
"We may not have contributed to the misperception in this case. but we suffer from it and will not allow it to continue," he said.
The video of the museum's demonstration surfaced as protests continue in cities across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed while in police custody in May. Green said he recognizes the pain, frustration and disappointment many Americans feel, adding that the civic discourse on racial injustice "is far from over."
"I know that we all recognize our oath to support and defend the Constitution that protects this important conversation," the admiral wrote.
Americans should know about Navy SEALs' proud, honorable and selfless service, he said, but the command can't lose the public's trust. This is the second time in a year Green has shared that sentiment.
Last summer after several high-profile scandals and legal cases, Green told his command they had a discipline problem that needed to be addressed immediately. That was after a SEAL platoon was booted out of Iraq, reports emerged of drug use in the ranks and several personnel were facing charges of bad behavior in the war zone.
Addressing the shortfalls, Green said at the time, would be his top priority. Navy SEALs must never take for granted the trust the American public places in them, he added.