San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is refusing to stand for the national anthem before games because he believes the United States oppresses African Americans and other minorities.
Kaepernick sat on the team’s bench Friday night during the anthem before the Niners played host to the Green Bay Packers in an exhibition game. He later explained his reasoning in an interview with NFL Media .
”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 said. ”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 issued a statement after Pro Football Talk initially reported on Kaepernick’s stand, saying that Americans have the right to protest or support the anthem.
”The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pregame ceremony,” the team said. ”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, who is biracial, was adopted and raised by white parents. He has been outspoken on his Twitter account on civil rights issues and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Kaepernick is not the first U.S.-based athlete to use the anthem for protest. In 1996, NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf refused to stand for the anthem, saying the United States had a history of tyranny and doing so would conflict with his Islamist beliefs. The NBA initially suspended Abdul-Rauf for his stance before it was lifted when he said he would stand and pray silently during the song.
Kaepernick said he is not worried about any potential fallout from his protest.
”This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” he told NFL Media. ”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 NFL and Kaepernick’s agent did not immediately return a request for comment.
Kaepernick is in competition to win back the starting quarterback job in San Francisco that he lost to Blaine Gabbert last season. He made his first appearance of the preseason on Friday night after missing two games with a tired shoulder. He finished 2 for 6 for 14 yards and added 18 yards on four runs.~~~crappy stats ,piss poor attitude can someone please remind me why this ass wipe is still on the team? Oh yeah,I remember the team paid him 60 million and now they cannot find anybody willing to take him off their hands. Just a bit of thought here for the flash in the pan. You have already been replaced and if you choose to dishonor our flag then hey thats your right but don’t expect m to like it . There are lot of better men than you that are completely willing to honor the flag and you have just that you have zero respect for all the people that gave all in support of our great nation.So if you are feeling oppressed then by all means feel free to give back or donate that 60 million payday you got to all of your oppressed buddies.Football should not be a home to politics Hey Kap just so you know ALL LIVES MATTER!