On Sunday, San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick defended his decision not to stand for the playing of the National Anthem at a pre-season game against the Green Bay Packers. The highly controversial moment caused a stir in the media as he stated that he is protesting on behalf of people in the country who are oppressed because of their race.
"This country stands for freedom, liberty, justice for all - and it's not happening right now," Kaepernick stated.
Kaepernick's move sparked heavy backlash as some fans posted videos on social media as they burned his jersey and other apparel. He is reportedly protesting the police use of force against African-American men and other minority groups.
"This is because I'm seeing things happen to people that don't have a voice, people that don't have a platform to talk and have their voices heard and effect change," the backup quarterback stated. "So I'm in a position where I can do that, and I'm going to do that for people that can't."
The 49ers released a statement in which they called the national anthem a "special part of the pre-game ceremony" and "an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens." However, they did mention that the organization respects the rights of an individual not to participate.
The NFL also issued a statement regarding the issue on Saturday: "Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the National Anthem."
Kaepernick has stated that he will continue to sit during the NFL games until he feels like the flag represents what it is supposed to, in his opinion. He has acknowledged that this gesture was offensive to the military yet he says "that wasn't my intention at all."
"The fact that it has blown up like this, I think is a good thing," Kaepernick stated. "Now I think people are really talking about it, having conversations about how to make change, what's really going on in this country and we can move forward."0comments
How do you feel about Colin Kaepernick deciding not to stand during the National Anthem at NFL games?