Colin Kaepernick, who became the first professional athlete to take a public stance against police brutality during the national anthem, got his job back.
ESPN reported Tuesday afternoon that Kaepernick would be returning to the starter job after San Francisco 49ers coach Chip Kelly said the move was necessary to jumpstart the team’s lackluster offense. The outspoken quarterback will put on his #7 jersey in the 49ers Sunday afternoon matchup with the Buffalo Bills. In response to Kelly’s decision to start him, Kaepernick simply responded by saying, “Let’s go.”
Shortly after the 49ers quarterback made national headlines for his decision to “refuse to stand to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people,” 26-year-old Blaine Gabbert was named the starting quarterback while Kaepernick was benched.
Although the stated reason for the team naming Gabbert as the starter for week 1 was Kaepernick’s shoulder injury, speculation about the team benching the controversial quarterback could be attributed to top NFL executives branding him as a “traitor,” with one anonymous NFL executive telling reporters, “fuck that guy.”
Since sitting during the national anthem in the preseason, Kaepernick has since adapted his protest during the national anthem to take a knee instead, with other athletes at the professional, college, and high school level joining his protest in solidarity throughout the country. #7 has become increasingly outspoken, using his social media accounts with millions of followers as a platform for social justice messages. On Monday, Kaepernick posted a photo to his Instagram account celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day, rather than Columbus Day.
Zach Cartwright is an activist and author from Richmond, Virginia. He enjoys writing about politics, government, and the media. Send him an email at [email protected], and follow his work on the Public Banking Institute blog.