Players, NFL Community React to Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem Decision on Twitter

Both current and former NFL players have weighed in on Colin Kaepernick's decision not to stand for the National Anthem.

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Complex Original

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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

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."

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.

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

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

Tampa Bay Bucs defensive tackle AJ Francis:

@davehiley62 @GolfweekEtzler until you understand what that's like, you won't understand where he or anyone that supports him is coming from

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!
This is what comes with a free society, unless ppl hate democracy

Former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Brian Finneran:

"Kaepernick Explains Protest of National Anthem" unreal! Do something productive not disrespectful! Or move out!

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

Former Titans quarterback and current ESPN host Matt Hasselbeck:

Easy way to make sure you're NOT the starting QB on opening day. #Sept11
49ers open on #MNF (Sept 12) = even more attention. #GoodLuckWithThat 🇺🇸
Be who you can afford to be.

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.
I'm a first amendment absolutist. But once you enter marketplace of ideas, you deserve ridicule when you're an idiot

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.

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:

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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