The conversation surrounding Colin Kaepernick, the NFL and national anthem protests has reached a new height of bizarreness: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz quote-tweeting former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad, who’s begun tweeting with greater frequency of late, posted a tweet about Kaepernick’s unemployment, calling him “one of the best quarterbacks in the league.”
“The #NFL season will start this week, unfortunately once again @Kaepernick7 is not on a NFL roster,” he wrote. “Even though he is one of the best Quarterbacks in the league.”
Cruz used the tweet for political points, countering Kaepernick’s selection as the face of Nike’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign as well as a viral video of his opponent, Beto O’Rourke, defending players who’ve chosen to protest during the national anthem.
“When a radical anti-Semite, anti-American Iranian dictator emphatically agrees with you, maybe that’s a sign that Beto, the NFL, and Nike are all on the wrong side of the American people,” Cruz wrote.
O’Rourke went viral last month when video surfaced of him at a campaign rally saying “there’s nothing more American” than protests during the anthem – a phenomenon started by Kaepernick in 2016.
Ahmadinejad was a frequent challenger of American politics during his presidency, and that continues today. He has posted several tweets disparaging the United States government, including one early Monday afternoon:
“The #UnitedStatesGovernment systematically plunders the wealth of Nations to fix it's own budget problems; and trade deficit,” he wrote with the hashtag #DictatorshipOfDollar.
Ahmadinejad had a turbulent relationship with Israel during his presidency and was accused of anti-Semitism on the global stage at least once, according to Reuters.
Ahmadinejad taking to Twitter is fundamentally ironic, as his presidency saw a ban of the social network in Iran. He joined Twitter in March of 2017.
The Kaepernick tweet Monday was Ahmadinejad’s 100th tweet in a year-and-a-half. Almost a quarter of those, though, have come since Aug. 1.