Football quarterback Colin Kaepernick is determined to be part of a movement in the U.S. “I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed,” Kaepernick said Sunday at his locker in an interview. However, his taking a “stand” will actually involve him taking a seat for now on whilst the national anthem is playing.
The San Francisco 49ers star plans to sit through the ol’ Star-Spangled Banner tune until he sees “significant progress” of race relations in America. “To me this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand,” said Kaepernick.
Realizing there will be retaliation for his controversial stance, or in this case sit down, Kaepernick claims he does care nor is he fearful that he may face rejection by sponsorships and fans. In terms of the more extreme, such as his safety, he says that “if something happens [to me] that’s only proving my point.”
“No one’s tried to quiet me and, to be honest, it’s not something I’m going to be quiet about,” he said. “I’m going to speak the truth when I’m asked about it. This isn’t for look. This isn’t for publicity or anything like that. This is for people that don’t have the voice. And this is for people that are being oppressed and need to have equal opportunities to be successful. To provide for families and not live in poor circumstances.”
After sitting down for the longtime patriotic anthem during the preseason opener against the Packers, some of his fellow players took notice and shared their own thoughts on his actions. “I agree with what he did, but not in the way he did it,” wideout Torrey Smith said. “That’s not for me. He has that right. Soldiers have died for his right to do exactly what he did. … I know he’s taken a lot of heat for it. He understands that when you do something like that it does offend a lot of people.”
Now sporting wily cornrows and a “determined” demeanor to continue his trend of sitting out to his own country’s song, Kaepernick further iterates how he is indifferent to the negative repercussions that may follow:
“I think there’s a lot of consequences that come along with this. There’s a lot of people that don’t want to have this conversation,” he said. “They’re scared they might lose their job. Or they might not get the endorsements. They might not to be treated the same way. Those are things I’m prepared to handle. … At this point, I’ve been blessed to be able to get this far and have the privilege of being able to be in the NFL, making the kind of money I make and enjoy luxuries like that. I can’t look in the mirror and see people dying on the street that should have the same opportunities that I’ve had.”
To see more stories like this, sign up below for Dennis Michael Lynch’s email newsletter.
Sign up to get breaking news alerts from Dennis Michael Lynch.