Ignites Corrosive Criticism
By Phil Space
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick says he’s ready for the backlash after his refusal to stand for the National Anthem out of support for African Americans and other minorities.
After sitting out the anthem before Friday’s exhibition game in San Francisco against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick told local media, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. 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.”
The 49ers responded quickly, releasing the following statement: “The National Anthem is and always will be a special part of the pregame 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.”
The NFL also said: “Players are encouraged, but not required to stand during the playing of the National Anthem.”
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