San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's protest of the national anthem has sparked conversation and similar demonstrations both inside and outside the world of sports, and he discussed the response to his actions on SportsCenter on Saturday.
In a video posted on ESPN.com, Kaepernick talked about how watching others join his cause has made him feel:
I think...it was something that was really just a personal decision where I didn't agree with what was going on. And...as far as things that have most touched me, it's the kids, the communities, the support. Something that everybody else saw and was like, 'You know what? I believe in what that movement is and what that issue he's trying to fight for is.'
There have been plenty of opponents to the veteran signal-caller's protests as well, but he has instead attempted to embrace the positives:
I haven't really focused on that too much because part of the oppressive system is you're going to have that backlash for trying to fight for people, and that was something I was fully prepared for, fully aware of, so when those things came, it was expected. It wasn't an issue for me. The support is really what to me was huge and really gave me excitement, gave me life, as far as people are seeing this the same way I am, and now we can help create change.
Kaepernick began his fight against racial injustice and police brutality during the preseason, when he sat during the singing of the national anthem. He has since taken a knee during the anthem, and many fellow NFL players have followed suit.
The protests have permeated other places, including the NBA, which saw one anthem singer wear a "Black Lives Matter" shirt while performing and another—Sevyn Streeter—get banned from performing by the Philadelphia 76ers for donning a "We Matter" jersey.
The Sixers subsequently apologized and invited Streeter to sing at a future game, according to NBA.com.
Kaepernick regained his starting job with the Niners two weeks ago, and although he hasn't rediscovered on-field success, his comments suggest he believes his demonstrations have represented a step in the right direction socially.
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