San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made his preseason debut last night, but people were talking about what he did before the game.
Kaepernick was seen sitting on the bench during the national anthem, which he said he did to protest the racial inequalities 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," Kaepernick told NFL Media. "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 is not something that I am going to run by anybody," Kaepernick 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."
The 49ers released a statement following the game, saying they acknowledge and accept his freedom to protest the national anthem.
“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 of mixed descent, and has reportedly sat during the national anthem during San Francisco's other preseason games as well. He told NFL Media that he had thought about making a statement earlier, but felt he "needed to understand the situation better."
As for his on-field performance, Kaepernick didn't do much to impress. He is battling Blaine Gabbert for the starting job and went 2/6 passing for 14 yards and added 18 yards on four carries in the 49ers' 21-10 loss to the Packers.
Last year, he passed for 1,615 yards and six touchdowns with five interceptions in nine games as the starter last season before losing his starting job to Gabbert.Back to the San Francisco 49ers Newsfeed