Colin Kaepernick Refuses to ‘Stand to Show Pride in a Flag for a Country that Oppresses Black People’|
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has become the latest professional athlete to publicly support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Before last night’s preseason NFL game against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick sat during the national anthem, while the rest of his team and the opposing team stood.
In an interview with NFL.com, Kaepernick, 28, elaborated on why he chose to sit, saying he couldn’t show pride in a flag for a country that didn’t value black life.
“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 said. “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.”
However, despite Kaepernick’s controversial gesture, the 49ers stood by their quarterback’s right to take a stand on issues important to him.
“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony,” the team said in a statement issued to NBC’s ProFootballTalk. “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 told NFL.com that the possibility of losing endorsements or getting traded was secondary to taking a public stand for civil rights.
“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,” he added.
Kaepernick’s stance attracted a variety of reactions on Twitter, though many were in support of his outspokenness.
Two months ago: "We all should admire Muhammad Ali's courageous stand for his beliefs."
Today: "Colin Kaepernick is ungrateful!"
— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) August 27, 2016
People mad Kaepernick sat during the national anthem in protest, but they aren't mad about the injustice he's protesting. That's the point.
— Sam White (@samwhiteout) August 27, 2016
Where can I get a Colin Kaepernick jersey?
— ChuckModi (@ChuckModi1) August 27, 2016
If your response to Colin #Kaepernick is "leave the country" because you don't agree with him, you have no idea what "freedom" means.
— Greg Benson (@Gregulator614) August 27, 2016
Zach Cartwright is an activist and author from Richmond, Virginia. He enjoys writing about politics, government, and the media. Send him an email: [email protected]