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NFL star refuses to stand for US anthem in protest against 'a country that oppresses black people'

‘There are bodies everywhere’, said 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Image: Tony Avelar

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the US national anthem before a pre-season game against the Green Bay Packers last night in protest against the treatment of black people in the country.

It wasn’t the first time the 28-year-old had done so but he explained his actions to NFL media afterwards.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color”, he said.

“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.”

Packers 49ers Football Colin Kaepernick in action against the Packers last night. Source: Tony Avelar

Kaepernick, who was the QB for the 49ers’ run to the 2012 Superbowl, said he didn’t consult with anyone else beforehand – including his employers.

“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” he said.

“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.”

The 49ers released a statement following the incident:

“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 and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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