Colin Kaepernick, 49ers Quarterback, Refuses to Stand for National Anthem

Politics, they say, is a dirty game. Especially if you’re not a politician but you are making a political statement. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is finding out that if you are going to make a political statement be prepared for the fallout.

For San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the realization that he created a political statement that many disagree with, is hitting him on social media, talk radio and even with political pundits.

It all started when Kaepernick was playing in a game Friday night against Green Bay at Levi’s Stadium. Kaepernick was dressed for the game in his San Fran uniform but while the rest of team rose for the playing of the National Anthem of the United States, while the Green Bay Packers rose and while the audience rose, Kaepernick sat. Kaepernick sat on his bench and refused to rise for the Star Spangled Banner. Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the song is causing a huge furor, with many fans arguing for the suspension of the star quarterback and with others actually burning his jersey in effigy.

Kaepernick explained this decision in NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. Kaepernick stated that, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. 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 49ers issued their own statement, “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. 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.” The coach of the team, Chip Kelly stated that, “It’s not my right to tell him not to do something.” The NFL also released a statement, obtained by NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport: “Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.”

Kaepernick said that he is aware of what he is doing and that he knows it will not sit well with a lot of people, including the 49ers. He said that he did not inform the club or anyone affiliated with the team of his intentions to protest the national anthem. “This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” he 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.”

Fans were quick to react on Twitter. Most of the tweets were not in support of Kaepernick’s actions. For instance, Gary Radnich stated, “Kaepernick not standing for National Anthem: I respect Freedom of choice but if he really wants to take a stand? Give back his NFL salary!!!” Matt Blevin tweeted, “Since he isn’t talented enough to get attention on the field, @Kaepernick7 is becoming a clown off the field…” Many who tweeted were pointing out the irony that Kaepernick spoke out of injustice and oppression, when in fact he is a multi-millionaire due to this football career such as Doug Gottlieb’s tweet, “$61m guaranteed… Very oppressed.”

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