Thursday night defiant quarterback Collin Kaepernick, who once again refused to stand for the nation’s national anthem, pledged $1 million to two community organizations.
— Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) September 2, 2016
Claiming that he is “misunderstood” and that his protest “has been taken out of context,” Kaepernick admitted that he is “very blessed” to be making the $11.9 million guaranteed salary that he will earn for the 2016-17 NFL season.
CBS Sports reported that the 28-year-old veteran for the San Francisco 49ers described why he decided to take a knee rather than sit during the singing of the anthem on “Salute to the Military” night at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego:
“As far as taking a knee tonight, Eric [Reid] — as well as myself — had a long conversation with Nate Boyer, who is a military vet,” Kaepernick explained. “And we were talking to him about, ‘How can we get the message back on track? And not take away from the military. … But keep the focus on what the issues really are.’
“As we talked about it, we came up with taking a knee, because there are issues that still need to be addressed. And it was also a way to try to show more respect to the men and women that fight for this country.”
Kaepernick insists that he is not anti-American and that his protest against police brutality and racial inequality has been “distorted” by the media. In a statement reported by USA Today, Kaepernick remarked: “I realize that men and women of the military go out and sacrifice their lives and put themselves in harm’s way for my freedom of speech and my freedoms in this country and my freedom to take a seat or take a knee so I have the utmost respect for them.”
“I think what I did was taken out of context and spun a different way.”
The 11-of-18 passing for 103 yards and 38 yards rushing on four carries for Kaepernick helped his team defeat the hometown Chargers in their last preseason exhibition but other than some isolated chants of “Kaep for President,” the crowd mostly booed his presence on the field.
Social media joined in castigating the controversial player:
— Chris Nguyen ABC7 (@ChrisNguyenTV) September 2, 2016
#Kaepernick stunt is just another idiotic America-hating athlete. Even more disillusioning: NFL & its teams refusing to stand up against it
— Mark Davis (@MarkDavis) September 2, 2016
Colin Kaepernick is a terrible human being
— Jeffrey Fox (@jeffreyfox_) September 2, 2016
Usually dont get that amped over social media but Colin Kaepernick ur pathetic. How dare you disrespect the men and women who serve the USA.
— Billy Gorman (@BillyGorman3) September 2, 2016
The beset quarterback found some support for his shunning of the national anthem:
After 2012, I never thought I’d be rooting for Colin Kaepernick, but it’s bigger than football
— J. as in Jazz (@Mme_Falcon) September 2, 2016
Can I just say that I have so much respect for Colin Kaepernick and I admire how unapologetic he's being
— Amanda Waller (@naptural_mae) September 2, 2016