49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to not stand during the National Anthem of the third preseason game Friday night has set an opinionated firestorm to social media.
Saturday morning, Kaepernick explained to NFL Network’s Steve Wyche why he didn’t stand up for the anthem, stating:
“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 soon after issues a statement of their own:
“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.”
Kaepernick is the latest of star athletes amount the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Paul, and several WNBA players, to take a stand that crosses over into their sport against racial issues in the United States.
Though the QB exercises his right to take the liberty not to stand, he noted that he is aware of what he is doing and the possible repercussions, saying, “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.”
Kapernicks’ Twitter account is filled with racially focused tweets and retweets, a pattern that has culminated to the move he finally decided to make Friday night. He added that it was one that had been on his mind for some time now, although he did not inform anyone in the organization on what he would be doing.
Kaepernick is currently fighting for a starting job with the 49ers, though head coach Chip Kelly has gone on record saying that there has never been any discussion about cutting Kaepernick due to his non-football related stances.