Colin Kaepernick didn’t stand during the national anthem when the 49ers faced the Packers on Friday night. Behind his team, alone, he sat on a Gatorade cooler. This isn’t the first time the 49ers’ quarterback has done it either. This is just the first time people took notice.
Jennifer Lee Chan of Niners Nation snapped this photo during the anthem on Friday night. It clearly shows Kaepernick sitting, while the rest of his teammates were standing.
The 49ers issued a statement that both paid respect to the ceremony of playing the national anthem, and supporting Kaepernick’s right to remain seated during it.
"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 to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem."
Kaepernick’s social media accounts have recently been centered on forwarding discussion on topics like race, religion and politics. He shared pieces by writers who were highly critical of how Ryan Lochte was afforded the benefit of the doubt when many athletes aren’t, and has been engaging discussions about police violence and the Black Lives Matter movement.
On Saturday morning he spoke with NFL.com about his decision.
"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 told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game against Green Bay. "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."