Detroit — Be clear on this: Jarrod Saltalamacchia isn’t disparaging Colin Kaepernick’s protest or any other protest. This isn’t about taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem, not really.
This is just his way of showing his support and admiration for law enforcement.
You probably saw the blue, star-spangled cleats he wore Friday night, festooned with a sheriff’s badge on one heel and the initials “HC” on the other.
“I’ve been wearing cleats for the Palm Beach (Fla.) Sheriff’s Department back home,” Saltalamacchia said. “I had these made up for my buddy who works with the canine unit so they can auction them off for an annual charity event they have in the offseason in November (which is what the initials HC represent).
“Just trying to raise money for fallen officers and families that have lost loved ones or are going through a hard time.”
Saltalamacchia’s late grandfather, Jerry Winebrenner, was the sheriff of Palm Beach County for 30 years.
“With all the stuff that’s going on right now, no one is really supporting these guys,” Saltalamacchia said. “And they’re going out on a daily basis putting their lives at risk, especially now more than ever.
“And all you hear about is the bad stuff.”
Saltalamacchia, who regularly goes on ride-alongs with the police during the offseason, has seen first-hand both the risks and the rewards that go with that job. He also understands not every officer is honorable.
“It’s like with everything – baseball players, football players, police – a couple of bad eggs give them a bad name, and we understand that. At the same time, don’t forget what these guys are doing. And they have families, too.
“They take a risk going out to protect your family, and they might not come home.”
Saltalamacchia said he would wear the star-spangled spikes a couple more times, authenticate them and them ship them to Palm Beach for the auction.