Colin Kaepernick says he will continue to remain seated for the national anthem until “there’s change,” KTRK (Houston) is reporting.
You may recall that Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback, caused a bit of a stir on Friday when he refused to stand for the national anthem during a preseason game. According to NFL.com writer Steve Wyche, it was the third time he had staged such a protest.
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Kaepernick has since said that the refusal to stand was a protest at what he describes as racial injustice in the United States. According to USA Today, he laid out his reasons for the protest to NFL Network Friday night.
“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.”
Kaepernick, who is mixed race (his birth mother is white, his father African-American) but raised by white parents, says that he himself has been victimized by racial profiling. Back when he was in college in Nevada, he says cops entered his apartment without knocking and without a warrant and drew their guns on Colin and his roommates. He says their only “crime” was being the only black people in the neighborhood.
Reaction to Kaepernick’s act of defiance has been swift and severe, and almost uniformly negative. In the 49ers’ locker room, even among Colin’s own teammates, the word “cancer” was used, according to Wyche. But according to linebacker NaVorro Bowman, Kaepernick’s teammates are trying to be unified and look past Colin’s protest and instead focus their attention on the field, where it belongs.
“Things like this break teams apart and we can’t let that happen. Colin chose to do this. We know Colin and we support him. We don’t think he is a bad teammate because he decided to voice his opinion.”
It’s a sentiment shared by safety Antoine Bethea.
“This could be the type of thing that creates division if you let it. That’s not why we are here. We are here to win football games and we are going to stick together.”
Outside of the 49ers’ locker room, however, other NFL players are less than supportive. Guard Alex Boone, now with the Minnesota Vikings but formerly a teammate of Kaepernick’s on the 49ers, let loose with some obscenities when asked about the situation.
“It’s hard for me, because my brother was a Marine, and he lost a lot of friends over there. That flag obviously gives [Kaepernick] the right to do whatever he wants. I understand it. At the same time, you should have some f*****g respect for people who served, especially people that lost their life to protect our freedom.”
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Despite the harsh reactions to his act of protest both inside and outside the NFL, Kaepernick is refusing to back down. Speaking on Sunday night, Kaepernick says he expects to be “treated poorly” by fans — and perhaps even other players — when he’s playing on the road, but he’s not necessarily afraid of violence. And if violence happens, Kaepernick says it will only prove his point.
He also says that he intends to continue sitting for the national anthem until “there’s change.” He also gave one specific example.
“Police brutality. There’s people being murdered unjustly and not being held accountable. People are being given paid leave for killing people. That’s not right. That’s not right by anyone’s standards.”
It is not clear, as of this writing, how Colin Kaepernick is defining what counts as sufficient “change” before he’ll resume standing for the national anthem.
Do you think Colin Kaepernick is right to sit for the national anthem?
[Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images]