San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has created a firestorm around the football world by refusing to stand up for the national anthem prior to Friday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
Kaepernick’s decision was rooted in the belief that he shouldn’t pay homage to a nation that continues to oppress people of color.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said after the game, via NFL.com. “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.”
It’s created widespread division around the NFL and within the context of the larger American society.
One player that’s not too happy with Kaepernick’s stance is former 49ers and current Minnesota Vikings guard Alex Boone, who played with the quarterback for five seasons in San Francisco.
Alex Boone not happy with former teammate Colin Kaepernick. Boone's brother was a Marine. Called sitting through National Anthem "shameful."
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 28, 2016
Boone went on to say that if the two were still teammates, he’d have a problem with the quarterback.
From a pure football perspective, this is the last thing San Francisco needed heading into a season of uncertainty.
Though, it does appear that members of the organization do support Kaepernick’s right to protest as he sees fit.
Bowman: We support Colin. We don't think it's bad thing he's voiced his opinion on such strong topic. But cant allow this to divide our team
— Cam Inman (@CamInman) August 28, 2016
First-year 49ers head coach Chip Kelly has also come out in support of his quarterback.
Meanwhile, the organization itself released a very telling statement in regards to Kaepernick’s actions on Friday.
“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens,” the statement read, via NFL.com. “In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”
This is a situation that’s not going to die down anytime soon. And while Boone might have an issue with his ex-teammate, it appears the organization is rallying behind Kaepernick. Whether that remains the case is not yet known.