OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — When the Castlemont football team decided it wanted to make a statement about police brutality, Colin Kaepernick had their backs.
It all started with a Tweet sent by senior and team lineman Jadan Starks.READ MORE: UPDATE: Wind-Driven Fawn Fire Near Redding Explodes To 5,500 Acres; Suspected Arsonist Arrested
“Why don’t we make a stand, make some noise and tell him that we got his (Kaepernick’s) back by doing the same thing he did,” it said.
It was a statement the team’s head coach Edward Washington supported.
“My players took the lead, and I followed right behind them,” said Washington.
Kaepernick saw it and wanted to show he appreciated the gesture. So, the 49ers quarterback decided to visit the team.
“It was kinda surreal, but at the same time, you need to keep focus for the game. Because it was game day,” said Starks.
Kaepernick told the team to keep doing what they were doing and to keep standing up for what they believe in.READ MORE: Oakland Hit With Lawsuit Over Failure To Clean Up Homeless Camps
That’s when the team decided to take their silent protest to the next level. At Friday night’s game at home, the Castlemont players lay down on the ground with their hands up.
“It’s basically showing our vulnerability from them being the authority and power, and us being the citizens,” said Starks.
Kaepernick came to Oakland, CA. He kneeled on one knee, players laid on their back with hands up during the Anthem. pic.twitter.com/Cae4sTopac
— Kirk Morrison (@kirkmorrison) September 24, 2016
To the Castlemont coaches and staff, their job is more than just winning.
“Football is the last thing we do here,” said Washington. “We’re teachers, we’re trainers. We’re teaching and training them for life. Football is only what you do.”MORE NEWS: Santa Clara County Supes Propose $25M For 10 Interim Housing Sites For Unsheltered
Kap’s speech to the team, as well as the team’s protest have since gone viral.