San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines Friday (Aug. 26), when he refused to stand during the national anthem.
He later told media he did so because of his views on the country’s treatment of racial minorities.
“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 after the 49ers’ 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 also added that he did not tell the team his plans before hand. “This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” said Kaepernick. “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 acknowledged, via in a statement, that Kaepernick sat on the team’s bench during the national anthem before San Francisco’s game against the Green Bay Packers in Santa Clara, California.
“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pregame ceremony,” the statement said. “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, who is biracial, was adopted and raised by white parents. He has been outspoken on his Twitter account on civil rights issues and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.