Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry offered his support Tuesday for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the national anthem.
In an interview on CNBC, Curry praised Kaepernick for showing courage in his convictions and applauded him for opening up a general dialogue about important issues:
Kaepernick had remained seated during the national anthem earlier in the preseason, but his protest became one of the biggest stories in sports following the 49ers' 21-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Aug. 26. After the game, he explained to NFL Media's Steve Wyche the purpose behind his actions:
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.
Kaepernick tweaked the protest before San Francisco's preseason clash with the San Diego Chargers on Sept. 1. Rather than remain seated, he took a knee. Nate Boyer, a former Seattle Seahawks long snapper and Green Beret, stood next to him. NFL Network's Alex Flanagan shared a photo of Kaepernick's demonstration:
While fellow athletes, including his 49ers teammates, Curry and United States women's national team star Megan Rapinoe, have come out in solidarity with Kaepernick's aims, he has also been met with plenty of criticism.
Former 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh initially said Kaepernick had the right to protest but didn't "respect the motivation or the action," per Kyle Rowland of the Blade. Clarifying his position on Twitter, Harbaugh wrote, "I support Colin's motivation. It's his method of action that I take exception to."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was critical as well, per the Associated Press' Barry Wilner:
I support our players when they want to see change in society, and we don't live in a perfect society. On the other hand, we believe very strongly in patriotism in the NFL. I personally believe very strongly in that. [...]
We have to choose respectful ways of doing that so that we can achieve the outcomes we ultimately want and do it with the values and ideals that make our country great.
I think it's important to have respect for our country, for our flag, for the people who make our country better; for law enforcement; and for our military who are out fighting for our freedoms and our ideals.
On Sept. 2, Kaepernick said he'll continue to kneel during the national anthem once the regular season begins, and he hasn't yet considered when the protest will cease, per Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group.