Colin Kaepernick refused to stand in protest
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Colin Kaepernick
Colin Kaepernick acted in protest during the playing of the national anthem.

Prior to last night’s preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers game against the Green Bay Packers at Levi Stadium last night, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand, in protest, as the national anthem was played.

This was a personal decision for Kaepernick.

“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.”

This move puts him in the same category as guys like Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and Carlos Delgado by declining to stand during pro-American songs.

Abdul-Rauf was even suspended for one game by the NBA during the 1996 season for not standing during the national anthem.  Eventually, a deal was agreed upon and he resumed standing with his teammates during the song.

The 49ers had no idea this was coming.

“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.”

Kaepernick also confirmed that he didn’t tell the team about it in advance.

“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.”

This stance comes on the same day that Dwayne Wade’s cousin was unintentionally killed by gunfire while she was pushing a stroller in Chicago.  The day before, Wade took part in a panel discussion about gun violence on ESPN.

Kaepernick told reporters that this is something he’s been thinking about for a while, but lacked the confidence to take a stand up until this point.

Somewhat overshadowed by his political stance, the quarterback made his preseason debut last night as he fights for a starting spot on the 49ers roster.  He went 2-6 through the air for 14 yards.

 

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