Colin Kaepernick Takes A Stand By Sitting During National Anthem
Regardless of what the season holds for San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the NFL veteran made a bold statement before it officially begins. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin native and University of Nevada graduate deliberately sat down through the American national anthem yesterday (August 26). Colin opted to remain seated on the bench during the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” during the Niners’ Friday night preseason NFL game against the Green Bay Packers.
Kaepernick did not play in the preseason affair. However, the onetime starter was candid about his actions speaking in the post-game press conferences. “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, following the match. “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 symbolic stand comes at a time when multiple killings have happened at the hands of police. Following the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and others, no police officials have served time.
The 49ers stood by their Quarterback’s bold decision. “The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pregame ceremony,” the team said in a statement published by The Los Angeles Times. “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 athlete said that he is unafraid of consequences surrounding his actions. “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.”
Previously, Kaepernick has been a spokesman and model for Beats Electronics (f/k/a Beats By Dre).
In the last two months, rapper Killer Mike suggested that institutional change come through stands taken by entertainers and athletes.
Former NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf made a similar choice in 1996. Opposing the United States’ views and treatment of Muslims in this country, the onetime Denver Nuggets Point Guard was initially suspended by the league for one game. Later, he made a compromise whereby he was allowed to close his eyes and look downward, while standing.