As a starting quarterback, Colin Kaepernick often bolted from the pocket at the first sign of pressure from the defensive line.
As a controversial protestor, however, Colin Kaepernick isn’t going anywhere in the face of ongoing criticism.
The San Francisco 49ers quarterback refused to stand during the playing of the national anthem prior to a preseason football game last week.
After cameras found Kaepernick glued to the bench, he explained to reporters that he felt a responsibility to take some kind action against racial injustice in America.
“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, adding:
“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.”
In subsequent comments, Kaepernick brought up the recent deaths of African-American citizens in confrontations with white police officers and said he would continue his protest until he saw “significant change.”
And he meant it.
On Thursday evening, Kaepernick kneeled on the sideline while the Star-Spangled Banner played overhead prior to his team’s matchup against the San Diego Chargers.
In this case, Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Powell sang the anthem, as 240 military officers held the U.S. flag on a night when the home team hosted the 28th annual Salute to the Military night.
But the quarterback wasn’t alone this time around.
Teammate Eric Reid also dropped to a knee.
Elsewhere on Thursday, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane refused to stand during the national anthem before his game against the Oakland Raiders.
“I’ll continue to sit,” Kaepernick said earlier this week.
“I’m gonna continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. 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.”
However, Kaepernick is doing more than merely kneeling on the ground for a couple minutes in protest.
He has announced plans to donate the first $1 million he earns this year to charities that assist communities in need.
“I’ve been very blessed to be in this position and to be able to make the kind of money I do,” Kaepernick said after last night’s game.
“And I have to help these people. I have to help these communities. It’s not right that they’re not put in a position to succeed or given those opportunities to succeed.”
Kaepernick also said he spoke to a military veteran before the game about his cause.
He received the man’s full support and explains that he took to a knee, as opposed to sitting all the way down, to “try to show more respect to the men and women that fight for this country.”
Kaepernick has received some celebrity support, as well.
John Legend, for example, says the Star-Spangled Banner is weak and that “America the Beautiful” should be our anthem instead.
Either way, this is where things now stand:
Colin Kaepernick is taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem.
He’s doing so to draw attention to racial inequality in a country that prides itself as being the “land of the free” and he’s now giving $1 million to causes that are trying to help with this issue.
And there’s a single person out there who has a problem with this? Why?!?!?!?!?!?!?