San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick spoke passionately about his choice to sit during the National Anthem before games. It has been a silent protest of his that was only noticed during the third preseason game which was the first one he was dressed for. There has been a lot of backlash over his actions but the QB did not hide behind anyone, players or PR, when faced with explaining himself.
Kaepernick said he will continue to sit until he sees change. He spoke about how he has had guns drawn on him by police when he was younger and how he believes it was racially motivated.
I’ve had times where one of my roommates was moving out of the house in college and because we were the only black people in that neighborhood the cops got called and we had guns drawn on us. Came in the house, without knocking, guns drawn on my teammates and roommates. So I have experienced this. People close to me have experienced this. This isn’t something that’s a one-off case here or a one-off case there. This has become habitual. This has become a habit. So this is something that needs to be addressed.
He did clear up the fact that his stance was NOT a slight to the military, which was a reason that had many people outraged on social media:
I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. That’s something that’s not happening. I’ve seen videos, I’ve seen circumstances where men and women that have been in the military have come back and been treated unjustly by the country they fought have for, and have been murdered by the country they fought for, on our land. That’s not right.
He also spoke about the election and his feelings about the candidates:
You have Hillary who has called black teens or black kids super predators, you have Donald Trump who’s openly racist. We have a presidential candidate who has deleted emails and done things illegally and is a presidential candidate. That doesn’t make sense to me because if that was any other person you’d be in prison. So, what is this country really standing for?
Prior to practice, the team held a meeting where Kaepernick spoke extensively about the motivation behind his actions and every player that spoke to the media in the open locker room session said that they are behind the QB and his actions, even those who had previously disagreed with it. The words they used to describe the meeting were: positive, productive, and informative. They also referred to him as their teammate and brother.
Daniel Kilgore had this to say:
Seeing his point of view, it does help, it clears the air. It was a good meeting, it was a productive meeting, we are all under the same understanding he has that right. For me personally, I see where Colin was coming from, again I don't agree with him not standing up for the National Anthem, but I do respect and acknowledge the fact that he has the right to decide what he wants to do.
The mood in the locker room was the most interesting part of the day. The room which has been cleared out very quickly following all of the preseason games thus far was filled with players and energy. It seemed like everyone was comfortable talking about the recent events. Several players stayed behind listening to their teammate express his opinions just beyond the huge ring of reporters.
Full transcript via Niners Wire here.