Black Lives Matter comes to the National Football League.
Citing the oppression of “black people and people of color,” San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand Friday during the national anthem before a pre-season game against the Green Bay Packers.
— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) August 27, 2016
“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,” he continued. “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
While not clear, the NFL player appeared to be referencing law enforcement officers.
Kaepernick is biracial and was adopted and raised by white parents, according to NFL Media. And he may be right when he said his protest was about “bigger” things.
…like fighting for his football life.
He’s facing a very real possibility of spending not just the time during the national anthem on the bench, but the entire season.
NFL Media reported:
The former Super Bowl starting quarterback’s decision to go public comes while he is fighting for his football life with the 49ers, who drafted him in the second round in 2011. He lost his starting job last season after being one of the most promising players in the NFL during his run under former coach Jim Harbaugh.
Over the past few months, his relationship with management has turned sour. He requested a trade last spring, which never came to fruition. He also has spent most of the offseason rehabilitating from operations to his left (non-throwing) shoulder, his hand and knee. That left him unable to fully compete with Blaine Gabbert for months and now, just weeks before the regular season starts, has him seemingly in a bind to regain his starting job.
The San Francisco 49ers released a statement in support of the national anthem, but recognized Kaepernick’s right to “participate, or not.”
“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens,” the team said in the statement. “In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”
Kaepernick said he did not inform the team beforehand.
“I am not looking for approval,” he said. “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.”
Kaepernick signed a 6 year, $114 million contract with the team, including an NFL record $61 million guaranteed. The contract also came with a $12,328,766 signing bonus, so his brave stance comes with a little security.
The player re-tweeted a number of racially oriented posts on Twitter, including one that featured images of the American and Confederate flags, along with the caption: “The fact that you really believe that there is difference in these flags means that your [sic] ignoring history,” NBC Sports reported.
He would later delete that post, but left the following re-tweet on his feed:
Next up for the “oppressed” player is facing the court of public opinion and based on the reaction seen on Twitter, that may prove to be tougher than an All Pro defensive end bearing down on him:
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— Asshole_ (@Angryman85) August 27, 2016
— Getty (@GettyTheGreat) August 27, 2016
@mattbarrows Bum, he wants out so bad. Just cut his ass already
— Grant Moreno (@GreatManGeno) August 27, 2016
@mattbarrows I am so appalled by his actions and thankful he didn’t come to the Broncos. What a slap in the face to everyone who serves.
— BroncosgirlinCA (@BroncosgirlinCA) August 27, 2016
— Craig Asano (@CraigAsano) August 27, 2016
— Coach B’s Sunglasses (@vicvicious68) August 27, 2016
— T1000 (@NoisyNeighbor84) August 27, 2016
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