For his first three preseason games, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick remained seated during the national anthem prior to each game. Despite criticism in response to his actions, he makes no apologizes. Instead, the QB told reporters he plans to keep sitting until there is a “significant change” in the United States in terms of the treatment of minorities.
“I’ll continue to sit. I’m gonna continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed,” Kaepernick said, via People. “To me, this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent and this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”
The 49ers organization released a statement honoring their star player’s right to protest “The Star-Spangled Banner”:
“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pregame ceremony,” the statement to ESPN reads. “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 28-year-old told NFL Media that he was compelled to take action to bring attention to these injustices.
“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. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.”