Anquan Boldin, who spent the past three seasons with the 49ers and was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, said he supports Colin Kaepernick’s right to his opinion.

Kaepernick has chosen not to stand for the playing of the national anthem for at least two of the 49ers’ exhibition games. It is his way to protest the oppression of minorities in America, he said.

Boldin, 35, a highly respected 14-year NFL wide receiver now with the Detroit Lions, spoke on the subject Saturday night after an exhibition game against the Baltimore Ravens.

"I respect everybody’s opinion," Boldin said, via the Detroit Free Press. "Everybody has one. I’m sure he’s going to get flak for it, what he did, but that’s the great thing about being in America, you have that option."

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In October of last year, Boldin's first cousin, Corey Jones, 31, was shot in Florida by a plainclothes police officer after Jones’ SUV broke down near a freeway exit ramp. The officer had stopped to investigate what he thought was an abandoned vehicle. Jones was a drummer in a church band and had a permit to carry a gun as protection as he traveled with expensive equipment and money.

Jones was reportedly shot three times and never fired his gun. Family members questioned whether Jones ever knew the man who approached him at the side of the freeway was a police officer.

 

Boldin said he has never spoken to Kaepernick about civil rights issues. Boldin said Kaepernick’s protest is an example of a person exercising his rights as an American citizen.

"I think a lot of people get bent out of shape about it," Boldin said. "Even if you don’t agree with what someone does, you still have to respect their opinion and how they feel about something. You can agree or disagree with it, but you still have to respect it. That’s the right that we have as Americans, and that’s the great part about being an American."