San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is receiving support from military veterans for his right to protest the national anthem before games.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, a Vote Vets petition has already accumulated more than 5,500 signatures in support of Kaepernick.
This comes days after the Twitter hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick was one of the top trending items on the social media website.
Kaepernick's protest came to light during the 49ers' third preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on Aug. 26. He was photographed sitting on the team's bench before kickoff while the national anthem was playing.
Matt Barrows @mattbarrows
Zoom-in of @jenniferleechan photo during national anthem that shows Colin Kaepernick sitting on the bench. #49ers https://t.co/c6F10yIIRE8/27/2016, 2:06:39 PM
After that game, in an interview with NFL Media's Steve Wyche, Kaepernick addressed why he was protesting.
"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."
Before Thursday's preseason finale against the San Diego Chargers, Kaepernick invited former Green Beret Nate Boyer to the game after Boyer published an open letter on Army Times earlier in the week about his willingness to hear the 49ers quarterback out.
Kaepernick took a different tack during that game by taking a knee during "The Star-Spangled Banner." He told reporters after the contest that he would donate $1 million of his salary to organizations of communities in need, per USA Today's Josh Peters.
Throughout this eventful week, Kaepernick has maintained he supports the military and people who fight to defend the freedoms of the United States while continuing to speak out on an issue he feels isn't getting the necessary attention it needs to be fixed.
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