2016 has been the year where several professional athletes have taken very public stances regarding repeated incidents of police brutality and black men. San Francisco 49’ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is the latest to express himself.
During a Niners pre-season game, Colin made headlines for refusing to stand during the National Anthem. Following the game, he addressed his decision.
“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 after Friday’s game. “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.”
He went on to explain that he didn’t tell anyone about his plans because it’s not something he felt he needed permission for.
“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.”
Since then, things have gotten heated, with Colin’s social media mentions being flooded and several NFL players have come out strongly against Colin’s stance.
49ers fans burning Kaepernick’s jersey to the National Anthem pic.twitter.com/MILA3AxNld
— BLACK ADAM SCHEFTER (@B1ackSchefter) August 28, 2016
— Wayne Allyn Root (@WayneRoot) August 28, 2016
I will be STANDING during the National Anthem tonight. Thank you to ALL (Gender,Race,Religion)that put your lives on the line for that flag
— Justin Pugh (@JustinPugh) August 27, 2016
— Matthew Hasselbeck (@Hasselbeck) August 27, 2016
Activists changed USA for better but have to associate Nat Anthem w/ military that die for ur right to protest. Stand up. Find another way
— Tyler Polumbus (@Tyler_Polumbus) August 27, 2016
Colin’s ex-teammate Alex Boone had a lot to add:
“It’s hard for me, because my brother was a Marine, and he lost a lot of friends over there,” Boone told USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero after the Vikings’ preseason game Sunday. “That flag obviously gives (Kaepernick) the right to do whatever he wants. I understand it. At the same time, you should have some (expletive) respect for people who served, especially people that lost their life to protect our freedom.
“We’re out here playing a game, making millions of dollars. People are losing their life, and you don’t have the common courtesy to do that. That just drove me nuts.”
Here is why Colin Kaepernick says he won’t stand for Anthem.
It’s something that as I’ve gained more knowledge about, what’s gone in this country in the past, what’s going on currently. These aren’t new situations. This isn’t new ground. There are things that have gone on in this country for years and years and have never been addressed, and they need to be.
I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.
This stand wasn’t for me. This stand wasn’t because I feel like I’m being put down in any kind of way. This is because I’m seeing things happen to people that don’t have a voice, people that don’t have a platform to talk and have their voices heard, and effect change.
— Emmanuel Acho (@thEMANacho) August 27, 2016
The Niners issued statement to NFL.com. It read, in part: “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.”
NFL rules say that players are encouraged to stand for the anthem but don’t have to.
Kaepernick’s final words on the topic:
I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. That’s something that’s not happening. I’ve seen videos, I’ve seen circumstances where men and women that have been in the military have come back and been treated unjustly by the country they fought have for, and have been murdered by the country they fought for, on our land. That’s not right.
It should be noted if you look through Colin’s Instagram account, this isn’t a topic that he’s just decided to be outspoken on now that he’s on his way out of San Francisco.