September 2 2016
Colin Kaepernick’s protest has gained momentum within the NFL, with more players protesting police brutality.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) looks on before the national anthem against the Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California, September 1, 2016. | Photo: USA TODAY Sports / Reuters
Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, continued his protest against racial injustice and police brutality Thursday, once again choosing to not participate in the performance of the U.S. national anthem during a pre-season game in San Diego.
“We have a lot of issues in this country that we need to deal with”
Kaepernick, 28, who had pledged to continue sitting during the performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before National Football League games, has now seemingly sparked a movement within the NFL with a teammate and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane joining in on the protest.
The protest has not come without a price. Kaepernick was met by heavy boos from the crowd during pre-game warm-ups and during his first offensive drive.
“We have a lot of issues in this country that we need to deal with,” he said after the game. “We have a lot of people that are oppressed. We have a lot of people that aren’t treated equally, aren’t given equal opportunities.”
Fidel and Malcolm X
Kaepernick has also taken to sporting a large afro. During the height of the Black power movement last century, many Black men and women wore their hair in an afro as a symbol of their identity and pride.
Earlier this week, Kaepernick also wore a T-shirt featuring revolutionary leaders Fidel Castro and Malcolm X.
Thursday’s game coincided with “Salute the Military Night,” which saw 240 sailors, Marines and soldiers present a U.S. flag and a pre-game parachute jump by retired Navy SEALS.
Protest not aimed at the military
Commentators have tried to suggest that the 49ers QB is disrespecting the military by not standing for the anthem but Kaepernick has said his protest is not aimed at the military.
One of his teammates, safety Eric Reid (photo), knelt alongside the quarterback during the singing.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane also sat during the playing of the national anthem before his pre-season game in Oakland.
“I just like what he’s doing, and I’m standing behind him,” Lane told ESPN.
“It’s something I plan on keep on doing, until I feel like justice is being served,” said Lane, who added he did not personally know the 49ers QB.
Kaepernick, who led San Francisco to the 2013 Super Bowl but has since been demoted to backup, has said he would not show pride in the flag of a country that oppresses people of color, citing police brutality.
The police killings of unarmed Black men and people of color sparked widespread protests throughout the United States and prompted the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The 49ers have supported his protest, as have many others, including NFL Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown and NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown (front, second from r.) presided over a 1967 meeting of top African-American athletes in a show of support for Muhammad Ali’s (front, second from l.) controversial opposition to the Vietnam War. (TONY TOMSIC/NFL)
Through his protest Kaepernick has joined a long line of Black athletes who use their position to protest racism in the U.S.