Now that he’s looking for a job in the NFL, free-agent-to-be Colin Kaepernick has announced that he will not continue protesting during the national anthem next year.
Previously Kaepernick vowed to continue kneeling during the national anthem until he saw “significant change” in the issues he cares about, namely police brutality and racial inequality.
From the preseason of 2016 throughout the regular season, Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem in protest.
“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,” he said in the past.
To some, he was exercising his First Amendment right. To others, Kaepernick’s actions were disrespectful of the military and the flag.
To the latter charge, Kaepernick has answered that the protest had nothing to do with the military.
“I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country,” he said. “I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening.”
“People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. That’s something that’s not happening,” he went on. “I’ve seen circumstances where men and women that have been in the military have come back and been treated unjustly by the country they fought have for, and have been murdered by the country they fought for, on our land. That’s not right.”
There were other controversies too.
For instance, comments about Fidel Castro in the context of wearing a Malcolm X shirt. The shirt showed Malcolm X and Fidel Castro in a picture with the words “great minds think alike.”
“The fact he [Malcolm X] met with Fidel to me speaks to his open mind to be willing to hear different aspects of people’s views and ultimately being able to create his own views as far as the best way to approach different situations, different cultures,” Kaepernick said.
There was also the “pig sock” situation.
There were also the ripple effects this created around the league, with numerous other players joining in protest during the national anthem.
Kaepernick is expected to opt out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers and become a free agent next week.
A person speaking on the condition of anonymity, who apparently has knowledge of Kaepernick’s plans heading forward, told USA TODAY Sports of the decision.