Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton opted out of going through with a planned tribute for Colin Kaepernick at the U.S. Grand Prix in 2017 after he was threatened with "potential consequences." Hamilton revealed this information after last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix, according to ESPN.
The planned tribute in question was wearing a Kaepernick-themed helmet for the race, and Hamilton didn't exactly get too specific with who exactly the person behind the threat was.
"I was advised from outside, from someone in the States who was really quite high up, that it wasn't the time for me to be doing so," he said, per ESPN. "There were potential consequences for me doing it. So that's why they advised me not to do it."
Hamilton noted that he was regretful for not wearing the helmet, and event spoke to Kaepernick about his plan after the fact. Hamilton, who is Black, was one of 14 drivers who took a knee prior to the opening race of the F1 season this year. He's also been a vocal advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement in recent months. Hamilton wore a shirt with the movement's titular statement prior to last weekend's race, and will don a Black Lives Matter tribute helmet along with an all-black uniform that his whole team will wear as part of an initiative to increase the number of ethnic minorities hired at Mercedes.
"I don't remember who else was involved. It's not particularly important. I do still have that helmet that I've done for Colin. And I did speak to Colin about it, who was super supportive," Hamilton said. "I'm grateful that I was able to do it last weekend [take the knee], and continue on the great movement I think he initially started [that] so many are continuing on today."
The year of the planned tribute would have been at the height of exposure for Colin Kaepernick's protest against police brutality and racial injustice that was expressed through kneeling during the national anthem. Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since the end of the season (2016-17) when his protest began.