SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick remained seated during the national anthem before Friday night’s game against the Green Bay Packers because of his views on the country’s treatment of 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 in explaining his decision to not stand. “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. …
“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. 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 issued a statement about Kaepernick’s choice not to partake in the pregame ceremony.
“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony,” the team 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.”
The NFL also issued a statement about its policy regarding the national anthem, saying: “Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.”
Kaepernick recently retweeted several posts about the Black Lives Matter movement and racism.