SANTA CLARA – Quarterback Colin Kaepernick made a statement on Friday night when he remained sitting on the team’s bench during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner at Levi's Stadium.
Kaepernick explained the purpose behind his decision in speaking to Steve Wyche of the NFL Network.
"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 said. "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 added: "This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. 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."
The 49ers organization released the following statement late Friday night and confirmed Kaepernick remained seated during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner.
“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 to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”
Many of Kaepernick's recent activity on social media have been focused on Civil Rights, denouncing white supremacy and pointing out racial inequalities, such as a retweet of a post: "In California, 73% of students are nonwhite, but only about 29% of teachers are nonwhite. Couple this with who constructs the textbooks."
Kaepernick also retweeted images of the U.S. and the Confederate flags with the message: “The fact that you really believe that there is difference in these flags means that your [sic] ignoring history." That post has since been removed from Kaepernick's page.
--Afterward, Kaepernick was clearly displeased with the NFL for not giving him approval for him to wear a tinted visor on Friday night against the Green Bay Packers. He has worn the visor throughout the entire offseason and in training camp at a doctor's recommendation, he said.
He warmed up with the tinted visor, then switched to a clear visor for the game. When asked about it, Kaepernick questioned the league's commitment to players' safety.