San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, along with teammate Eric Reid, kneeled during the national anthem at the San Diego Chargers’ preseason “Military Appreciation Night” game on Thursday night.
Both men dropped to one knee while “Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Powell from the U.S. Navy sang ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’ Also, simultaneously, 240 sailors, Marines and soldiers unfurled an oversized flag at the Chargers’ Qualcomm Stadium.”
ABC News reports: “The pair were met with scattered boos during the anthem, but Kaepernick was met with significantly more boos in his snap of the game.”
Some attendees were not pleased with Kaepernick’s statement.
When Kaepernick left the field following pregame warmups in San Diego, he was greeted with profanity and obscene gestures from Leo Uzcategui, a 20-year Navy veteran in a military-green Chargers jersey with quarterback Philip Rivers’ No. 17 in camouflage numbering.
“I was in the Navy and I saw men and women bleed and die for this flag,” Uzcategui said. “If he wants to do something, go to some outreach program where he can do some good. And I get it, his First Amendment right. But you don’t sit during the presenting of the colors, and you don’t sit during the national anthem. That is not the way to do it.”
“I don’t like it,” said Navy veteran John Lair. “If he’s not for our country and the United States flag, get out of my country.”
“I won’t watch a 49er game from now on. On account of him,” Lair added.
Boomer Esiason, a CBS Sports football analyst and former NFL quarterback, said, “When you see people disrespecting the flag or the national anthem, it really rubs you the wrong way.”
“When there’s significant change and I feel like the flag represents what it’s supposed to represent in this country, I’ll stand,” said Kaepernick to reporters on Sunday.