Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, will not stand at a preseason game while the national anthem is played for military appreciation night in San Diego. Kaepernick made headlines last week when he refused to stand for the anthem at the Green Bay Packers game.
“When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent in this country, I’ll stand,” Kaepernick told reporters Sunday.
“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 in an exclusive interview after the 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.”
The game on Thursday night is significant because it is military appreciation night and billed as a tribute to “hundreds of thousands of current and retired military personnel who live and work in San Diego.”
Kaepernick clarified that he was not referring to the military when he referenced “bodies in the streets.”
“I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country,” Kaepernick said of the criticism. “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.”
Reactions to Kaepernick have been mixed, with some people like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar approving of football star’s political statement; on the other, side fans took to burning Kaepernick’s jersey.