Colin Kaepernick Protests National Anthem, Cites Racial Injustice

Colin Kaepernick Protests National Anthem, Cites Racial Injustice

The quarterback says he won't stand up for a country that won't do the same for its minorities

The quarterback says he won't stand up for a country that won't do the same for its minorities

Text: William Defebaugh

San Francisco 49ers quarterback and former VMAN cover star Colin Kaepernick was seen taking a stand—or rather, a seat—against racial injustice by refusing to rise for the national anthem at a sporting event on Friday night.

“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 later said to NFL Media. “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.”

It's a practice that Kaepernick has been keeping up at many of his season's pre-season games, though it's only being noticed now. Last night's gesture was likely only noticed because, this time, he was wearing his team jersey.

COLIN KAEPERNICK PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRUCE WEBER FOR VMAN32

“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” Kaepernick said. “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.”

In an industry known for treading lightly due to high-paying advertisers and sponsorships, the simple gesture has already sparked a fire in the sports world. While he has upset a fare share of fans and industry officials, the athlete has not broken any rules. According to a statement issued by the NFL, "Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the National Anthem."

With racist politicians, weekly shootings, and police brutality running rampant, Kaepernick sets a strong, and commendable example for using his public platform to take a hard stance and speak out for minorities in this country.

"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. So I'm in a position where I can do that, and I'm going to do that for people that can't."

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