Colin Kaepernick met with the media Thursday evening following the San Francisco 49ers preseason victory over the San Diego Chargers. He got a chance to get into significant detail about his protest, the causes he supports, and how things will work moving forward.
Kaepernick told the media he will be donating the first $1 million of his 2016 salary to various community organizations. He talked about putting his money where his mouth is, and will use this money to help various organizations. He said he has been speaking with various organizations to move this beyond the why of the protest, and into the underlying issues of the protests. This will include working in communities in need, and effecting change as much as he can. Charles Robinson posted an article shortly after the game talking about the potential pivot we might see on this. It reads like someone who has spoken to sources close to Kaepernick. It’s a good read.
Kaepernick and free safety Eric Reid chose to take a knee during the National Anthem. Kaepernick was seen applauding military families when they were recognized during the game, and also standing and applauding for God Bless America. After the game, Kaepernick and Reid both talked about what led to kneeling instead of sitting. They both met with former Green Beret and long snapper Nate Boyer, and they spoke with him about ways to maintain their protest while also making it clear they support the military. The kneel was a compromise of sorts to clear that up.
There were numerous questions as to whether this was a distraction for Kaepernick, and for the team. Kaepernick made it clear he is maintaining focus on football, working “10, 11, 12 hours a day” with football. He talked about the meetings and discussions he and his teammates have had about the underlying issues behind the protest. I imagine not everybody is on board with the protest, but it feels like there is some semblance of unity within the team.
Kaepernick’s post-game press conference will likely be available on the 49ers video page at some point. I highly recommend giving it a watch. I’m guessing ESPN and NFL Network will show some clips from it, but I highly recommend watching the whole thing once it is available. It is a fascinating Q&A session.