Colin Kaepernick and San Francisco 49 ers safety Eric Reid kneeled during the national anthem Thursday night, continuing the quarterback’s preseason protest of American racial injustice and minority oppression.
Kaepernick and Reid dropped to one knee while a naval officer sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and dozens of military members unfurled an oversized flag at the Chargers’ Qualcomm Stadium.
Kaepernick and Reid received scattered boos when they dropped to a knee amid a mob of teammates, but the protest was otherwise unremarked by the San Diego crowd. The 49 ers’ visit coincided with the annual Salute to the Military preseason game for the Chargers, who have strong fan support in their city’s extensive armed forces community.
Kaepernick get much heavier boos when he took the field to start the game for the 49 ers and immediately resulted them on a 16 -play, 85 -yard touchdown drive. The veteran quarterback is attempting to regain the starting chore that he lost last season, and he likely helped his cause with a 103 -yard passing performance while playing the entire first half in the 49 ers’ 31 -2 1 victory over the Chargers.
Kaepernick’s protest has predominated the public discussion of the nation’s most popular sport this week, and his posture has been met with equally passionate censure and support. His refusal to stand for the anthem first came to public notice last week when he remained seated on the 49 ers’ bench before a preseason game against Green Bay.
When Kaepernick left the field following pregame warmups, he was greeted with profanity and obscene gestures from Leo Uzcategui, a 20 -year Navy veteran in a military-green Chargers jersey with quarterback Philip Rivers’ No. 17 in camouflage numbering.
“I was in the Navy and I find men and women hemorrhage and die for this flag, ” Uzcategui said. “If he wants to do something, go to some outreach program where he can do some good. And I get it, his First Amendment right. But you don’t sit during the presenting of the colours, and you don’t sit during the national anthem. That is not the way to do it.”
Domenique Banks, a 23 -year-old fan from nearby Oceanside, California, got the quarterback to sign his Kaepernick jersey before the game.
“I told him I appreciate what he is standing up for, ” Banks said. “He said he appreciated it. Most of the person or persons I talk to say the same thing. I don’t like that he is sitting during the national anthem, but I appreciate what he is standing for.”
Kaepernick said he had invited teammates to sit with him during the anthem, but didn’t expect any to join him. His invitation apparently was accepted by Reid, the 49 ers’ starting safety and a fourth-year veteran from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Reid, who wasn’t in uniform for the game, had been publicly supportive of Kaepernick’s stance.
One sign in the crowd read: “You’re an American. Act like one.”
In Oakland, Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane also sat on the bench behind his standing teammates as “the member states national” anthem was performed before Seattle’s game against the Raiders.
Kaepernick kneeled next to Nate Boyer, a former Green beret who went to training camp with the Seahawks last year as a long snapper. Boyer, who wrote a conciliatory open letter to Kaepernick earlier this week, had a long conversation with the quarterback about his posture this week. He posted a photo of the two on Twitter with a caption reading, “Let’s only keep moving forward. This is what America should be all about.”
When the same naval officer performed “God Bless America” before the fourth quarter, Kaepernick remained standing and then praised along with his teammates.
Kaepernick’s visit to San Diego fell on the Chargers’ 28 th annual Salute to the Military, a night designed to pay tribute to the tens of thousands of active and retired military personnel who live in the region. The festivities included pregame music from the Marine Band San Diego, halftime recognition of Vietnam War veterans, and a mob filled with numerous injured soldiers invited as special guests.
Kaepernick has said he doesn’t intend his posture to be a criticism of the military, claiming he has “great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country.”
When the Chargers’ public-address announcer asked fans to recognise active military personnel during a timeout, the quarterback stood and enthusiastically praised along with his teammates and the entire stadium.
Kaepernick remained on the field in San Diego for 15 minutes after the game objective and his teammates went to the locker room, signing dozens of autographs and pose for selfies with Niners fans.
Kaepernick’s social activism, which merely emerged publicly in recent weeks, also included is supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement through social media.
While negative reaction to the quarterback has been strong, Kaepernick also has been widely praised for his commitment to his posture. Veterans and military members tweeted their is supportive of Kaepernick in recent days under the hashtag “VeteransForKaepernick.”
Jim Brown voiced is supportive of Kaepernick while disagreeing with his method of protest. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar called Kaepernick’s decision “highly patriotic” while encouraging him to take further steps to build dialogue between law enforcement and blacks.
Amid the hubbub of his emerging social activism, Kaepernick is still trying to win a job with the 49 ers less than four years after resulting them to the Super Bowl. The quarterback lost the starting chore last season, and he hasn’t divided himself from Blaine Gabbert this summer under new coach-and-four Chip Kelly.
Gabbert wasn’t expected to play in the San Diego finale because he had already played much more in the preseason than Kaepernick, who didn’t appear until San Francisco’s third exhibition game.
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