49ers quarterback sits during national anthem to protest police brutality
© Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on Friday night protested the national anthem at a preseason football game, sparking a massive response. 

Kaepernick refused to stand with his team during the playing of the national anthem in protest of the killings of people of color. 


"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 after the game, according to NFL.com.

"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 following Kaepernick’s controversial decision.  

"The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony,” the team said.

"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.”

The quarterback said he felt the need 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.”

Kaepernick’s Twitter account is full of retweets of activist messages in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.