San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's protest against racial injustice and police brutality during the national anthem appears to be picking up steam in the NFL regular season. On Sunday, four players took a knee during the anthem, and half a dozen more raised their fists during or immediately after the song played. On Monday, Kaepernick's 49ers appeared on Monday Night Football for their opening game against the L.A. Rams. Kaepernick and teammate Eric Reid knelt during the national anthem, while their teammates Antoine Bethea and Eli Harold, as well as Rams players Kenny Britt and Robert Quinn, raised their fists.
According to ABC News, Kaepernick was hugged by several teammates after the anthem finished. Reid mirrored his controversial teammate's "Star Spangled Banner" protest for the first time in a September 2 preseason game.
Kaepernick has been sitting or kneeling during the national anthem all season, and has inspired many other athletes in his wake, including pro soccer players and high school athletes. The ongoing protest has been met with extensive praise and criticism, the latter especially from NFL executives. It has also done wonders for Kaepernick's jersey sales, the proceeds of which the QB is donating to charity.
Kaepernick's protest comes in a climate of increasing politicization of athletes around issues of racial injustice. Players in the WNBA gained press attention earlier this summer when they wore t-shirts in support of the Black Lives Matter movement at their games.