San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick again refused to stand for the playing of the national anthem before his team’s preseason loss to Green Bay at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara 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 told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. "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."
According to NFL.com, the 49ers issued the following statement about Kaepernick's decision: "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."
Kaepernick isn’t the first or only professional athlete to refuse to stand for the national anthem. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who was known as Chris Jackson prior to converting to Islam, refused to acknowledge the flag while playing for the NBA’s Denver Nuggets. Abdul-Rauf said that the banner conflicted with some of his Islamic beliefs.
Kaepernick, who hasn’t played since last November, lost his starting job last season due to poor play and injuries. He made his preseason debut against Green Bay, completing two of six passes for 14 yards. Following the game, 49ers coach Chip Kelly said that there has never been any talk of cutting Kaepernick. Kelly said that, despite his quarterback’s comments, he will make “football decisions” only about Kaepernick.
Kaepernick should leave his mansion behind and get out and visit some of the world’s real garden spots so he can see what oppression and murder actually look like on a grand scale. I’m certain Colin would be more than happy to live in, say, North Korea. Syria or Sudan, perhaps?
The most recent Global Slavery Index (GSI) estimated that nearly 30 million people remain enslaved globally, many of them in Africa. Only the U.S., Western Europe and Australia are essentially slave-free. Ironic, isn’t it? I’m sure Colin perused the GSI before making his “statement.” Mauritania alone has well over 100,000 slaves in its midst, while Benin, the Ivory Coast, Gambia, Gabon and Senegal all have comparatively high rates of slavery, as well.
Kaepernick signed a 6-year, $114,000,000 contract with the 49ers, with $61 million of it guaranteed. This is an average annual salary of $19,000,000, or $1,187,500 per game. Not bad for someone who may not even start.
The median annual per capita income in Liberia is $118. In Niger it’s $307, Uganda $296. (To be fair, it’s $579 in Sudan)! No, you certainly wouldn’t want to appear “selfish” Colin.
Kaepernick is biracial, and was adopted and raised by white parents and siblings.
I will certainly be exercising my right not to stand for Colin Kaepernick.