During the national anthem performance before their game against the Green Bay Packers, quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers sat on the bench.
The excuse he gave for refusing to stand during the national anthem was because of his beliefs regarding the country’s treatment of racial minorities. He claims the U.S. “oppresses” people of color.
“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 after Friday’s game. “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.”
He said he didn’t tell the team ahead of time that he was planning to do it. “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.”
The 49ers issued a public statement on the matter:
“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pregame ceremony,” the statement 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.”
ESPN reports that Kaepernick is biracial, and was adopted and raised by white parents. He has expressed support on his Twitter account for the Black Lives Matter movement, and claims he had thought about going public with his feelings for a while, but “I felt I needed to understand the situation better.”
The Green Bay Packers won the game.
Twitter is lighting up over the matter – some supporting Kaepernick, and others outraged.
@Kaepernick7 u sit 4 NatAthem? We’ll forget ur overpaid ass yrs from now, but we’ll never forget brave souls who afforded u the freedom 2sit
— Dennis Michael Lynch (@realDennisLynch) August 27, 2016
Hey @Kaepernick7 Football is an American sport. If you’re not feeling American feel free to leave you ungrateful clown.
— Eric Bolling (@ericbolling) August 27, 2016
“Young man, you are a disgrace to the black patriots who fought for your right to be a damn fool,”
LT Jackie Robinson, US Army@Kaepernick7
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) August 27, 2016
Oh @Kaepernick7 I’ll have some final thoughts for you bud.
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) August 27, 2016
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