Aware of the potential repercussions, San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, took a political stance on Friday night that shook the nation.
The 28-year-old Kaepernick refused to stand during the national anthem in protest of what he claims are “wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States.” Friday’s game against the Green Bay Packers was not the first time Kaepernick did so, as he also sat during the anthem for at least one other preseason game.
“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 American flag symbolizes many things to the country’s residents, from the armed forces that defend them, to the freedom and human rights they possess, and Kaepernick’s stance sent social media into an uproar the following morning. The 49ers released this statement on his decision: “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.”
QB Colin Kaepernick and #49ers teammates spoke to the media Sunday afternoon.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) August 29, 2016
NFL statement on Colin Kaepernick: “Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the National Anthem.”
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 27, 2016
Kaepernick said that he has had these feelings for a while, but waited to go public with them because, “I felt that I needed to understand the situation better.” Kaepernick now joins the likes of several professional athletes that have chosen to take a stand on civil rights in America.
This decision could likely cost Kaepernick endorsement deals and even a spot on a NFL roster. 49ers head coach Chip Kelly said he plans to make “football decisions” regarding Kaepernick. He acknowledged Kaepernick’s decision to sit as “his right as a citizen” and said, “it’s not my right to tell him not to do something.”
The original story can be found here at NFL.com by Steve Wyche.