San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines on Friday when, before a preseason game against the Packers, Kaepernick sat in protest during the playing of the national anthem.
After the game, Kaepernick explained his decision to NFL Media, saying he was not going to show pride for America when there are “bodies in the street.”
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. 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 49ers released a statement regarding the incident, where they said they respect Kaepernick’s rights to protest under the first amendment.
“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.”
If you have been following Kaepernick on Twitter, his protest isn’t all that surprising, considering his timeline is filled with retweets in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and other civil rights issues. Kaepernick’s protest came on the same night in which Dwyane Wade’s cousin was killed during a shootout in Chicago and the NBA superstar took to Twitter to protest gun violence.
Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the flag is reminiscent of former NBA star Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who did the same in 1996 and was subsequently suspended by the NBA. The NFL has yet to make an official statement regarding the incident or if there will be any consequences handed out to Kaepernick moving forward.