This past Friday night, 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem played before the 49ers preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. Kaepernick told NFL Network’s Steve Wynch that he decided not to stand in protest of the recent crimes against African Americans in the United States.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color”
This comes in the wake of a summer filled with senseless crimes against African Americans including the murder of Alton Sterling.
“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.”
According to NFL network, Kaepernick has sat out of at least one national anthem in each of San Francisco’s three preseason games.
The 49ers issued a statement in support of their quarterback after the game.
“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.”
Kaepernick was also not hesitant to say that he’s willing to put everything all the line in order to stand up for what he believes in.
“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.”
Kaepernick is of mixed decent, but he was adopted at birth. During the off season, Kaepernick spoke with his family and decided to be more outspoken about his beliefs. Although he has been an advocate on social media for racial equality, this is the first public stance Kaepernick has taken against racial issues in the United States.
Kaepernick now joins fellow African American athletes Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade, and division foe Richard Sherman in the fight for equal rights for African Americans.
Kaepernick lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl in his second season but he is currently in QB battle with 2011 draft mate Blaine Gabbert. He lost his starting position due to injury last season.
Pictures courtesy of Essence and the NFL