After drawing disapproval from fans for refusing to stand during the “The Star-Spangled Banner” in all three of his team’s preseason games, San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick is defending his patriotism in the best way possible — his pockets.
“The media painted this as I’m anti-American, anti-men-and-women of the military and that’s not the case at all,” the star quarterback told reporters after his team walked away with a win against the San Diego Chargers on Thursday, Sept. 1.
As for the misunderstanding Kaepernick is referring to, on Friday, Aug. 26, the star athlete made a controversial decision to take a stand against oppression, by remaining seated during the national anthem prior to his game against the Green Bay Packers, in Santa Clara, California. “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 told Steve Wyche of NFL Media. “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.
“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.”
And he’s not backing down. Still frustrated, Kaepernick took a knee during Thursday night’s big game, only this time he was joined by teammate Eric Reid before insisting he’s “not anti-American” and “loves America.”
“I realize that men and women of the military go out and sacrifice their lives and put themselves in harm’s way for my freedom of speech and my freedoms in this country and my freedom to take a seat or take a knee so I have the utmost respect for them,” he said. “I think what I did was taken out of context and spun a different way.”
While the 28-year-old proclaimed his respect for military personnel and veterans, the NFL star revealed he has no plans to stand during the national anthem anytime soon. Instead, he plans to donate $1 million throughout the year to community groups affected by racial inequality and police brutality. “I’m currently working with organizations to be involved, and making sure I’m actively in these communities, as well as donating the first million dollars I make this year to different organizations to help these communities and help these people,” Kaepernick said.
“I’ve been very blessed to be in this position and make the kind of money I do, and I have to help these people. I have to help these communities. It’s not right that they’re not put in the position to succeed, or given the opportunities to succeed,” he concluded.
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