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Niners QB Kaepernick refuses to stand for anthem in protest

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is refusing to stand for the national anthem before games because he believes the United States oppresses African Americans and other minorities.

Kaepernick sat on the team’s bench Friday night during the anthem before the Niners played host to the Green Bay Packers in an exhibition game. He later explained his reasoning in an interview with NFL Media .

“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. “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.”

The 49ers issued a statement after Pro Football Talk initially reported on Kaepernick’s stand, saying that Americans have the right to protest or support the anthem.

“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pregame ceremony,” the team said. “It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”

Kaepernick, who is biracial, was adopted and raised by white parents. He has been outspoken on his Twitter account on civil rights issues and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Kaepernick is not the first U.S.-based athlete to use the anthem for protest. In 1996, NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf refused to stand for the anthem, saying the United States had a history of tyranny and doing so would conflict with his Islamist beliefs. The NBA initially suspended Abdul-Rauf for his stance before it was lifted when he said he would stand and pray silently during the song.

Kaepernick said he is not worried about any potential fallout from his protest.

“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” he told NFL Media. “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

The NFL and Kaepernick’s agent did not immediately return a request for comment.

Kaepernick is in competition to win back the starting quarterback job in San Francisco that he lost to Blaine Gabbert last season. He made his first appearance of the preseason on Friday night after missing two games with a tired shoulder. He finished 2 for 6 for 14 yards and added 18 yards on four runs.


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Thanks to Chip Kelly hire, Colin Kaepernick’s time in San Francisco may not be up

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After setting the NFL world on fire in 2012 and 2013 with his 17-6 record and a pair of deep playoff runs, including an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII, 49ers’ QB Colin Kaepernick rapidly regressed over the last two seasons.

Things got so bad that head coach Jim Tomsula decided to give Kaepernick a “mental break” by benching him in favor of Blaine Gabbert.

Yes that Blaine Gabbert.

Kaepernick’s horrific 2015 came to an end in late November after he told the team that he wanted to get surgery on his non-throwing shoulder, which forced the team to put him on the season ending IR list. It appeared that Colin Kaepernick’s time with the San Francisco 49ers was over.

But now that might not be the case.

Niners’ CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke have decided to hire Chip Kelly as the 20th head coach in the franchise’s storied history. Kelly’s offense is predicated on having a mobile quarterback and Kaepernick is still capable of using his legs to create problems for the opposing defense.

If the 49ers decide to keep Kaepernick, he’ll be the best quarterback Kelly has coached in his NFL tenure. But will Kelly be able to find the same success that Jim Harbaugh had with him?

Twitter: @ScottDargis


Blaine Gabbert Stuns Chicago with 71-Yard Overtime TD (video)

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What a wild finish in the windy city.

After Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould missed a game-winning field goal wide left at the end of regulation, Blaine Gabbert unleashed a 71-yard strike to a streaking Torrey Smith to win in overtime.

Seriously, this is an incredible throw by the much-maligned backup QB Gabbert. Take the time to watch it over and over again.

The question of the day comes from the incomparable PFTCommenter: