A recent decision by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is causing outrage among many NFL fans over his refusal to stand for the playing of the national anthem. This past Friday, the 49ers faced off against the Green Bay Packers when Kaepernick made his now controversial decision. According to Kaepernick “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 political expression of Kaepernick, who earns an estimated $114 million per year playing football, was not a onetime event. He has been outspoken on his Twitter account on issues of civil rights and support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Kaepernick was put up for adoption as a child after his father left before he was born and was raised by White parents along with their own children. His decision to not stand for the national anthem has caused many fans to burn their Kaepernick jerseys and place the images on social media along with statements criticizing his actions.
Some Twitter comments have called his actions unpatriotic and unappreciative for the opportunities that living in the United States have made possible. According to the NFL, players are not required to stand for the playing of the national anthem but are encouraged to do so at games.
The 49ers issued the following statement regarding the matter: “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.”
There is no indication that the team will drop Kaepernick for exercising his first amendment rights and he now joins a growing list of sport figures who are taking a stand during the Black Lives Matter era.