A comprehensive aggregation of Colin Kaepernick supporters, haters and everyone in between
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been sitting during the national anthem the entire preseason. People only took notice on Aug. 26 because he was dressed to play and his protest became obvious. Kaepernick explained that his decision to sit was in no way to bash the military “but to bring awareness to unjust but unpunished actions in the U.S.”
“You can become a cop in six months and don’t have to have the same amount of training as a cosmetologist. That’s insane. Someone that’s holding a curling iron has more education and more training than people that have a gun and are going out on the street to protect us.”
Since Aug. 26, the quarterback who took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013 has gotten applause from some folks and heavy condemnation from others. Here is a list of people who have backed up Kaepernick or pushed back against his protest.
BOMANI JONES, Kaepernick’s statement in his words, not actions: Jones joins Mike & Mike to discuss certain segments of society being easily offended by Kaepernick’s actions while not listening to his message. Jones also wrote a column for The Undefeated explaining that the quarterback isn’t asking for peace, but justice.
STEPHEN A. SMITH, Kaepernick has every right not to stand: Smith is fine with the quarterback not standing during the national anthem because soldiers fight for our freedom, allowing Kaepernick to exercise his own beliefs.
DOMONIQUE FOXWORTH and JEMELE HILL, Kaepernick’s protest reminiscent of Muhammad Ali: Foxworth and Hill believe that his protest reminds them of how Muhammad Ali took a stand on social issues. Foxworth wrote about how Kaepernick’s protest is as American as the flag.
49ERS PLAYERS vow to stick together in wake of Kaepernick’s protest: Before the San Francisco 49ers practiced or Kaepernick met with the media on Sunday afternoon, they held a players-only meeting. The meeting was meant to ensure that a team coming off a last-place finish in the NFC West would not fractured before the season even began. “After Kap stated his case today and seeing where he is coming from, I do stand with Kap when he says enough is enough against crime and the violence and discrimination and racism. I believe that enough is enough,” center Daniel Kilgore said.
LIONS LB DEANDRE LEVY, “100 percent supports” Kaepernick, says people not paying attention to the reason for the protest: “Right now I’m not joining the protest at this moment but I 100 percent support him. I support his decision to sit.” Levy also said, “I mean, I think people were kind of too quick to critique whether or not he should stand for the national anthem but they don’t critique the message that he was expressing, the sentiment. … We always like to talk about the response. We don’t talk about what led to that response.” Elaborating, Levy said, “I think right now everybody is responding to whether or not he should stand for the national anthem but are not responding to the police brutality, the mistreatment of minorities in this country since its inception. It wasn’t built on freedom of liberty. It was built on oppression and genocide, essentially.”
BALTIMORE RAVENS COACH JOHN HARBAUGH defends Kaepernick’s right to protest: Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday that he respects Kaepernick’s right to protest the national anthem and cited a French Enlightenment philosopher in doing so. “Voltaire so eloquently stated, ‘I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend it until death your right to say it,’ ” Harbaugh said. “That’s a principle that our country is founded on. I don’t think you cannot deny someone the right to speak out or mock or make fun or belittle anybody else’s opinion.” Harbaugh has talked with Kaepernick two or three times over the years and knows him through his brother Jim. He mentioned Kaepernick comes from a great family and was raised the right way, which “reflects in how successful he’s been.”
MIAMI DOLPHINS DEFENSIVE LINEMAN NDAMUKONG SUH,”You’ve got to respect the man’s opinion”: The Dolphins Pro Bowl defensive lineman said that he supports Kaepernick’s right to express displeasure about racial oppression in the United States. “You’ve got to respect the man’s opinion as well as his actions,” Suh said before practice. “I definitely understand where he’s coming from and him choosing to do what he did. I think it’s an individual choice. At the same time, I think a lot of [us] as leaders, especially with young kids, is to make a good, proper announcement if you feel the need to. I think that’s what he’s doing. I support him in that and for me, I just have to move forward and go with the punches.”
HALL OF FAME WIDE RECEIVER JERRY RICE, says, “Don’t disrespect the flag”: Rice weighed in on the issue and Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the national anthem on Monday night. Rice said on Twitter: “All lives matter. So much going on in this world today. Can we all just get along! Colin, I respect your stance but don’t disrespect the Flag.” His note was retweeted nearly 6,400 times and received nearly 11,000 likes.
SAN FRANCISCO POLICE UNION SENDS LETTER TO NFL, 49ERS, asking organization to denounce Kaepernick: The union primarily took issue with comments Kaepernick made to the media: “People are on paid leave while people of color are killed.” The San Francisco Police Officers Association said Kaepernick has the right to voice his opinion, but the NFL and 49ers have the ability to “denounce his foolish statements and separate yourself from his actions.”
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS QB DREW BREES “wholeheartedly disagrees” with Kaepernick’s decision to sit: Brees, who has done five USO tours and whose grandfathers fought in World War II, said he “wholeheartedly disagrees” with sitting for the national anthem, but said the 49ers quarterback has the right to speak out. “The great thing about this country is that we have the freedoms that allow you to speak out openly about any issue. So I’m not commenting on the issue itself, because any person has the right to speak out on any issue they want. … But the American flag is what represents those freedoms. It represents the very freedom that Colin Kaepernick gets the opportunity to exercise by speaking out his opinion in a peaceful manner about that issue.”
— Per ESPN’s Mike Triplett
NEW YORK GIANTS COACH BEN MCADOO would be “disappointed” if Giants didn’t stand for anthem: McAdoo said he respects freedom of speech, but said the Giants consider standing for the anthem a gesture to veterans and military. He said the organization stresses its players operate with “empathy.” “The way we operate for the national anthem, we consider it a small gesture to those who serve and sacrifice their lives for our country and for us to play and coach in this great game. … I’d be disappointed if one of our guys chose not to stand. It’s their choice. It’s not mandatory. But we feel it’s important.”
VIKINGS’ OFFENSIVE LINEMAN ALEX BOONE, critical of Kaepernick: “You should have some [expletive] respect for people who served, especially people that lost their life to protect our freedom,” Kaepernick’s ex-49ers teammate said. “We’re out here playing a game, making millions of dollars. People are losing their life, and you don’t have the common courtesy to do that. That just drove me nuts.”
KAEPERNICK’S FORMER COACH AT NEVADA, CHRIS AULT, “shocked” by his decision to sit: Chris Ault, who coached Kaepernick at Nevada, explains why he opted to pen a letter in reaction to Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the national anthem.
MICHIGAN COACH JIM HARBAUGH ON KAEPERNICK, I don’t respect the action: Colin Kaepernick’s former coach Jim Harbaugh does not respect Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the national anthem, although Harbaugh acknowledges Kaepernick’s right to do so.
(UPDATE) — JIM HARBAUGH questions Kaepernick’s motivation: Harbaugh initially said he didn’t respect Kaepernick’s “motivation or action” on Monday. But the Michigan coach later took to Twitter to clarify his stance. “I apologize for misspeaking my true sentiments. To clarify, I support Colin’s motivation. It’s his method of action that I take exception to.”
TENNIS PLAYER JOHN ISNER calls Kaepernick’s actions “pathetic”: John Isner weighs in on the quarterback’s decision not to stand during the national anthem and says he’s fine with Kaepernick expressing his point of view, but the way he did it was “pathetic.”
HOUSTON TEXANS COACH BILL O’BRIEN, Texans encourage players to stand for anthem: While he didn’t mention Kaepernick specifically, Texans coach Bill O’Brien did say the national anthem is important to him. “I’m going to just tell you that we encourage our players to stand for the national anthem to honor their country,” he said. “That’s the way we handle it. I’m not going to speak about any other team. I know the league issued a statement on it. I know that Mr. McNair, myself, Rick Smith are big believers in standing for the national anthem.”
PITTSBURGH STEELERS LT ALEXANDRO VILLANUEVA, says Kaepernick protest could “send the wrong message”: Villanueva was a U.S. Army Ranger before starting his NFL career. He understands Kaepernick’s frustration over racial injustice, but not his forum. The sacrifice of the military is too great to minimize the national anthem, Villanueva said. “I don’t know if the most effective way is to sit down during the national anthem with a country that’s providing you freedom, providing you $16 million a year … when there are black minorities that are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan for less than $20,000 a year,” Villanueva said. “It’s his decision. Obviously he has brought up the issue in a great way. But I think if he encourages other players or other people in the stands to sit down, it’s going to send the wrong message. He has to be a little more careful and look at the big picture of the things that he’s doing, because as a service member, I have to understand it, but he’s an athlete, he’s got a huge platform, he has to see the impact he has on other people’s lives.”
LOS ANGELES ANGELS BROADCASTER RICK MONDAY, flag-saving in 1976, “shocked” by Kaepernick’s protest: Monday saved an American flag 40 years ago, grabbing it from protesters aiming to burn it on the field at Dodger Stadium. He weighed in on Kaepernick refusing to stand for the national anthem. “I was shocked,” Rick Monday told USA Today Sports. “The question is why? Why? He has his own issues. He has his own beliefs. And many of us have our own that are totally opposite of that. I don’t like it, and I don’t respect it,” said Monday, who has been a Los Angeles Dodgers broadcast analyst since 1993.
MIKE GOLIC, initial reaction to Kaepernick, rage. Doesn’t believe Kaepernick was trying to disrespect the military: Mike Golic discusses his initial reaction to Kaepernick sitting during the national anthem and says he can relate to people who are upset but also believes it wasn’t the quarterback’s intention to offend branches of the U.S. military.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES ROOKIE LB MYKE TAVARRES, changes plan, says he’ll stand for anthem: At his agent’s suggestion, Tavarres will not sit during the anthem. Earlier Monday, Tavarres spoke to ESPN’s Tim McManus and said that he nearly sat during the pregame ceremony at the Indianapolis Colts over the weekend, and plans to follow through when the Eagles host the New York Jets in the preseason finale on Thursday night. “Oh, I thought about it. Believe me, I definitely thought about it,” said Tavarres of sitting on Saturday night. “And usually I’m front and center on the line with the rest of the guys, and that’s since pre-K all the way up. Saturday’s game, I stepped back, I was in the background, and it didn’t feel right to me at all, and so I will be taking a stand — or sitting down — for the fourth game.”
TAVARRES’ STATEMENT: I want to apologize for the distraction I’ve become to all of Eagle Nation. I feel passionate about racial issues going on in our country and I thought that sitting during the national anthem would bring more awareness to this issue and encourage more constructive discussion to find solutions, but I feel I only made things worse. I want to make change in this world, but sitting down during the national anthem just isn’t the best way to do it. With that being said, I do plan on finding a better way. I’m young and I still have a lot to learn about saying and doing the right thing. For now, I will stay focused on football; but I will definitely look for opportunities to do what I can to prevent injustices. I am so blessed to be an American and I just feel a responsibility to do what I can to make things better.
AGENT’S STATEMENT: “Yes, he plans on standing for the national anthem. Myke does not want to be a distraction to the Philadelphia Eagles organization. Myke’s goal is and will always be to make the Eagles 53-man roster and help the team win a Super Bowl.”
All information used is from ESPN unless otherwise stated.