SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was at the center of a growing controversy Saturday after he sat during the playing of the national anthem before Friday night’s 49ers-Green Bay Packers exhibition game.

While not explaining their player’s actions, the team confirmed that their star quarterback did not join his teammates in standing for the national anthem.

In a statement, the team said in part — “In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to chose to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”

“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 “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, who is battling to regain his starting spot, did not fare as well as he looked extremely rusty in his first game action since last November. He completed 2 of 6 passes and generated one first down on three drives in the 49ers 21-10 loss.

In his interview with, Kaepernick said his uncertain status on the team would not deter him from social commentary.

“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.”

Kaepernick, who is biracial, was adopted and raised by white parents. He has been outspoken on his Twitter account on civil rights issues and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Kaepernick is not the first U.S.-based athlete to use the anthem for protest. In 1996, NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf refused to stand for the anthem, saying the United States had a history of tyranny and doing so would conflict with his Islamist beliefs. The NBA initially suspended Abdul-Rauf for his stance before it was lifted when he said he would stand and pray silently during the song.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Saturday that “players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.”


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. — Bob Lange, V.P. Communications San Francisco 49ers

Protesting Kaepernick, several fans posted videos to social media showing them burning his jersey.

TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report

Comments (47)
  1. The Thruth Hurts says:

    He didn’t stand, BIG DEAL. I agree 100% with what Kaepernick said. Most pro athletes & celebrities don’t have the balls to take this stance. Too worried about losing money , which really has no value and isn’t backed by anything. Research and wake up. America has been at war 226 years out of 240 years since 1776. Numbers don’t lie , people do(School books/Media).

    1. Bbrkr says:

      You agree? So you’re as ignorant, racist, and just plain stupid as him. OK, I wouldn’t be bragging about that, though. Of course, when your IQ is barely room temperature, like yours and his, it’s not surprising.

    2. The guy is intellectually weak. Everybody knows it. You probably think this lemon is your hero.

  2. That’s rather ignorant considering how much “oppression” he is being paid by the 49ers.

  3. J Russ says:

    The Kapster has always appeared to want to look like a common ignorant gangsta corner boy. I assumed he was sitting down practicing where he will be during the games his last season in the NFL before being released as a failure to be able to stand on the corner full time. At least he’s made enough money to increase his “corner” look and get a few neck tattoo’s.

  4. Fred Rouse says:

    I was not a 49er fan. Now I will never be. Ungrateful man. If you wish to protest, use your own time. Why not protest by quitting the game. What real example is this setting? This man is a fool and even when he is protected and given freedom of expression, a right provided by our laws, he uses that same law to disrespect the country that provides that law. Should he be able to burn the flag in the middle of the field next?

  5. NT says:

    He just disrespected all of the sacrifices and work our forefathers did in making our country as good as it is. Our country is definitely not perfect and we all have a way to go, and our country is one I would not trade for another. It’s great that Kap has an opinion, but to not stand or participate in our national anthem, is not very patriotic. Helmet check..

  6. Gerry Pong says:

    Has he used any of his millions to help “people of color” who are oppressed? Does anyone know if he has a foundation or established an educational scholarship or something along these lines?

    1. Hans says:

      I am sure he buys the big booty black biatches some nice jewelry from Jared’s after they suck him off after a win.
      Doesn’t that count for something?

  7. Oscar Ortiz says:

    I love these Black lives matter racist kill burn loot and pillage their own community and yet they say we white people are Racists,8 out of the 10 deaths of Black men by the Police are all due to the fact they do not listen to the police when being stopped and or arrested for the crimes these Black men commit Simple clea
    n up your House first ass holes

  8. timothy hamilton says:

    I would rather see instead of dishonoring our flag he give legitimate idea’s on what can be done about it.Everyone knows there is racism in this country and even more in other countries.My opinion is racism is tough at youth by piers it is not a natural thing.I believe with each generation it will get a little better.I know my grandchildren don’t even recognize color but they do recognize stupidity and that it comes in all colors.Lets not forget racism is not just a white thing it exist in every culture so remember this while raising your children.

  9. Tony DePaul says:

    . Yes! I’m sure he’s one of the oppressed. This is 2016 you bag of manure. Everyone has the same chances in life. Niether me or any of my ancestors have ever owned a slave or done any harm to one. In fact you over paid pile of manure there isn’t an American alive that has.
    I have an idea go to Africa and protest why Africans caught and sold slave to the white man and those that they didn’t sell they either raped killed or kept them as slaves.
    I guess with all of your education that you don’t know that the killings and taking of slaves is still going on?

  10. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is a mega millionaire. He feels strongly that his nation has done wrong. He should donate millions to organizations able to correct this issue. Money where his mouth is. Waiting.

  11. HDJoe says:

    Get rid of him. Little peanut head has no brains in it. Great athlete, not a field commander. A quality needed to be a great QB. Just eat it and release the sorry POS

  12. papa369 says:

    Anyone capable of standing up and not standing for the national anthem is extremely disrespectful of all the Men and Women who have died fighting for this country. All Veterans
    should boycott the entire 49er team till they fire him!!!!!

  13. This won’t make him any more attractive to other teams. NO team wants trouble like this idiot. If he still wants to be traded, he needs to behave. And avoid looking like a sympathizer to B.L.M. terrorists.

  14. Hans says:

    He has enough to buy all the blacks tickets to go back to Africa. They can all enjoy their droughts and famines there while dancing around like monkeys.

  15. Kevin Curl says:

    This country is so oppressive that he can make 17 million per and we have a black President . You oppressed by this nation feel free to move to any other country on the planet . You won’t be missed .

  16. WHY don’t you EXPATRIATE these unUnited States for, say, South Africa…and STAY THERE, punk.

  17. joe says:

    Has CK donated any of his salary to BLM? If he did, then good, if he didn’t then he should start from the basic, money speaks.

  18. On Nov. 3, 1987, Colin Kaepernick was born…and my “white privileged” rear end was serving as an Army intel operator inside the “1K Zone” along a border that constrained hundreds of millions of soon-to-be freed human beings. You aren’t worthy to lick my boots, BOY.

  19. Colin Kaepernick deserves the scorn and obloquy heaped upon him, and of top of everything, he’s a mediocre player and pretty stupid to boot.