Colin Kaepernick National Anthem: 49ers Quarterback Refuses To ‘Show Pride In A Flag For A Country That Oppresses Black People And People Of Color’

Colin Kaepernick made his preseason debut on Friday night against the Green Bay Packers. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback went a paltry 2-of-6 for 14 yards and added four rushes for 18 yards in a 21-10 defeat. While the focus after the game should’ve been on Kaepernick’s ongoing competition with Blaine Gabbert for the starting quarterback job, it was instead on something very different.

During the national anthem, Colin was very noticeably sitting on the bench instead of standing and honoring his country. A number of people on social media noticed and found it offensive that Kaepernick would be so disrespectful and it immediately began to cause a buzz.

After the game, Colin Kaepernick spoke to NFL Network‘s Steve Wyche about his reason for not standing during the national anthem and it spurred even more controversy.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview. “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.”

The 49ers also released a statement in response to Colin’s protest of the national anthem.

“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game 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 and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”

Kaepernick joins a number of other famous athletes who have called for action on issues facing minorities. That being said, refusal to stand for the national anthem hasn’t typically been well-received in the past for other athletes who have taken a political or religion-based stand, but Colin says that he’s prepared for the criticisms because the protest means more to him.

“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” he said. “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.”

It’s a bit ironic that Colin Kaepernick is using the national anthem as his form of protest considering the flag represents a country that allows him to have freedom of religion and freedom of expression. Kaepernick would be better served to get involved in the issues and find other ways to make a difference than just blatantly turning his back on the flag and the national anthem.

This isn’t the first time that Colin has pulled this type of protest as Wyche’s report points out that he has sat on the bench during at least one other preseason game this year. It remains to be seen if this will become a permanent choice for Kaepernick, but it’s certainly brought on plenty of attention.

It’ll be interesting to see how, if at all, this affects Colin Kaepernick’s tenure with the 49ers. Earlier this offseason, Colin demanded a trade, but the 49ers never made a deal happen and now Kaepernick’s entrenched in a battle with Gabbert for the starting job. By all accounts, Gabbert is likely going to be the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers when the team takes the field in Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams.

[Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images]

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