At the start of their first preseason football game with the Green Bay Packers, 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the national anthem.
His reason? “Oppression” of blacks and minorities in America.
In a statement to Pro Football Talk, the Niners team said:
“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pregame ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”
Kaepernick doesn’t seem bothered at all by any backlash he may receive by saying:
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder. …
“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”
The photo that sparked the controversy?
Zoom-in of @jenniferleechan photo during national anthem that shows Colin Kaepernick sitting on the bench. #49ers pic.twitter.com/c6F10yIIRE
— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) August 27, 2016
Here are just a few reactions:
With Colin Kaepernick's intelligence and ability, if he was born in any other country, he would've starved to death in the streets by now.
— Victor Nikki (@hapkidobigdad) August 27, 2016
How can a football player make millions of $ in America, but can't honor the flag that gave him those millions? https://t.co/eK18aOUyjS
— Madeline Sierra (@pinkpetalz) August 27, 2016
Disrespectful. Be a part of the solution, not the problem. Use your 100M to make positive change, not further divide https://t.co/gmfRoNqb0C
— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) August 27, 2016
@KassyDillon If it's bigger than football then why is @Kaepernick7 still playing? He should quit and join a movement .. oh wait $$$ hmmm
— Tom Stokes (@SportsPlusShow) August 27, 2016
Look how Mean & Unjust
America has been to Colin Kaepernick
If I owned that house I wouldn't stand either pic.twitter.com/WyCWMdfVJO
— Villi Wilson (@Conservative_VW) August 27, 2016