49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been the center of heated debate on Twitter since Friday. Prior to the San Francisco team's preseason game, Kaepernick chose to remain seated during the National Anthem because he said American police are not treating people of color fairly. He doubled down on the decision after the game and offered some bold quotes about why he'd decided not to stand.
“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” the quarterback said. “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Colin Kaepernick doesn’t hold back pic.twitter.com/bG9ETwgayL— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 27, 2016
With so much talk surrounding Kaepernick’s decision, the NFL issued a statement:
.@NFL comment on Kaepernick's anthem stance: "Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the National Anthem."— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 27, 2016
Everyone on social media is talking about this today, including the NFL community. Current players, retired athletes, and prominent media figures have all shared their thoughts on the event. Below are some of their responses.
Miami Dolphins running back Arian Foster:
you can't be be selective and dictate what freedoms this country stands for. you're free to have any religious/political views you feel.— Feeno (@ArianFoster) August 27, 2016
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert:
New York Giants guard Justin Pugh:
I will be STANDING during the National Anthem tonight. Thank you to ALL (Gender,Race,Religion)that put your lives on the line for that flag— Justin Pugh (@JustinPugh) August 27, 2016
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews:
Come on bro 😐😐😐 this is the land of the Free BECAUSE of the Brave that's what our Flag represents— Rishard Matthews (@_RMatthews) August 27, 2016
Tampa Bay Bucs defensive tackle AJ Francis:
Former Patriots offensive lineman Damien Woody:
Kaep has every right to express his feelings/beliefs and ppl have every right to disagree. That's ok folks!— Damien Woody (@damienwoody) August 27, 2016
This is what comes with a free society, unless ppl hate democracy— Damien Woody (@damienwoody) August 27, 2016
Former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Brian Finneran:
"Kaepernick Explains Protest of National Anthem" unreal! Do something productive not disrespectful! Or move out! https://t.co/HYNBLU5Mn0— Brian Finneran (@BFinn86) August 27, 2016
Former Denver Broncos offensive lineman Tyler Polumbus:
Activists changed USA for better but have to associate Nat Anthem w/ military that die for ur right to protest. Stand up. Find another way— Tyler Polumbus (@Tyler_Polumbus) August 27, 2016
Former Titans quarterback and current ESPN host Matt Hasselbeck:
Be who you can afford to be.— Matthew Hasselbeck (@Hasselbeck) August 27, 2016
Two controversial, polarizing Fox Sports 1 hosts, Jason Whitlock and Clay Travis:
Told y'all on Friday, Kap is Twoke, 140 characters of knowledge makes him foolishly believe he's Malcolm X. https://t.co/oi6pmpkGHO— Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) August 27, 2016
I'm a first amendment absolutist. But once you enter marketplace of ideas, you deserve ridicule when you're an idiot https://t.co/ppeSMigGFs— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) August 27, 2016
Bleacher Report writer Mike Freeman:
Texts coming in from coaches, players, front office execs from around league on Kap. So far every player backs him. No coach/exec does.— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) August 27, 2016
Steve Wyche of NFL Network originally reported the Kaepernick quotes that started all this buzz. He said Kaepernick knew the backlash was coming.
Kaepernick told me that he is fully aware that there will be backlash. He is willing to deal with it: https://t.co/R3pSnMeWdD— Steve Wyche (@wyche89) August 27, 2016
We can’t imagine Kaepernick will be punished in any way for this, but it has created a thorny public relations situation for the NFL, which loves to associate itself with the American flag (the NFL logo is literally based on it). It will be interesting to see how the league handles it.
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