San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem during his team’s preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on Friday, citing the “oppression” of black people in America.
After a photo of Kaepernick sitting out the national anthem started spreading on the internet, NFL.com’s Steve Wyche asked the quarterback for an explanation — and he got one.
Zoom-in of @jenniferleechan photo during national anthem that shows Colin Kaepernick sitting on the bench. #49ers https://t.co/c6F10yIIRE— Matt Barrows (@Matt Barrows) 1472306799.0
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he reportedly 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.”
Kaepernick said he’s not “looking for approval” and only wanted to “stand up for people that are oppressed.”
SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 26: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers throws a pass against the Green Bay Packers in the first half of their preseason football game at Levi's Stadium on August 26, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
He added, “If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”
The 49ers organization supported Kaepernick’s right not to participate in the national anthem in a statement.
“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,” the statement said.
(H/T: Bleacher Report)
This story has been updated.