Published On: Sat, Aug 27th, 2016

Kaepernick: Won't support 'a country that oppresses black people'

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has explained his decision to remain seated during the national anthem before Friday’s preseason game, saying he did so as a civil rights protest.

“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 Steve Wyche of in an interview after the game against Green Bay Packers. “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.”

Kaepernick said he understood the decision wouldn’t be received well by some, and that he didn’t inform the 49ers ahead of time.

“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” Kaepernick 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.”

Kaepernick has reportedly sat during the national anthem before several preseason games, but only caught attention on Friday as he was in uniform for the first time.

The 49ers defended Kaepernick’s decision, saying in a statement that “we recognize the right of an individual to choose to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”

Kaepernick – currently in the midst of quarterback battle with Blaine Gabbert – said he’s considered going public with his feelings for a while, but that he “needed to understand the situation better.”

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