Colin Kaepernick made headlines over the weekend, after refusing not to stand up during the national anthem. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback remained seated as the anthem played at Friday’s game at Levi’s Stadium, and he explained that it is a protest of how African Americans are treated in America.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he told NFL Media in an exclusive post-game interview. “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.”
Niners coach, Chip Kelly, told reporters Saturday that Colin’s decision not to stand during the national anthem is “his right as a citizen” and added that “it’s not my right to tell him not to do something.” Additionally, the 49ers issued the following statement in response to Colin’s 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.”
In taking a stand for civil rights, the 28-year-old QB joins fellow athletes, like the NBA’s LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony – plus a number of WNBA players – who recently used their platforms to raise awareness to issues affecting minority communities in the U.S.
There was also a statement released by the NFL which said: “Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.”
Colin noted that he is aware of what he is doing, and says although he knew it would not sit well with a lot of people, including the 49ers – he did not inform the club or anyone affiliated with the team of his intentions to protest the national anthem.
“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” he insisted. “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.”
Photo: AP/ @jenniferleechan