to be on NFL's Kaepernick in San Diego amid anthem protest
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[September 01, 2016]
By Marty Graham
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - All eyes will be
on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the
performance of the U.S. national anthem at a Thursday night football
game to see if he continues to sit in protest of racial injustice in
the United States.
Kaepernick, 28, has drawn both strong support and fierce criticism
for refusing to stand during "The Star Spangled Banner" before
National Football League preseason games this year.
Kaepernick, a former starter who led San Francisco to the 2013 Super
Bowl but has since been demoted to backup, has said he would not
show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses people of color,
citing police brutality. He is the latest black athlete to use the
arena as a national platform for protest against racial injustice.
The use of force by police against African-Americans in cities from
Ferguson, Missouri, to Baltimore and New York has sparked periodic
and sometimes destructive protests over the past two years and
spawned a movement called Black Lives Matter. Anger has intensified
when the officers involved in such incidents have been acquitted in
trials or not charged at all.
The 49ers, which unsuccessfully tried to trade Kaepernick since his
demotion, have supported the demonstration, as have many others,
including NFL Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown and National
Basketball Association legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
But the demonstration has also drawn fierce criticism from a wide
variety of commentators, including the San Francisco Police
Officer's Association, which in a statement called him "misinformed"
and demanded an apology.
San Francisco's former police chief resigned in May under pressure
from the city's mayor following the second of two recent
high-profile police killings of black suspects and amid criticism
over racist text messages sent by officers in the department.
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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick stands on the field
before their NFL pre-season football game against the Denver Broncos
in San Francisco, California, U.S. August 8, 2013. REUTERS/Stephen
Two seasons ago, players on the NFL's St. Louis Rams entered the
stadium for a home game with their hands raised, a reference to the
"Hands Up, Don't Shoot" slogan adopted by protesters in
demonstrations against the shooting of an unarmed black teenager in
More recently, players for the Women's National Basketball
Association's Minnesota Lynx took the court last month with warmup
shirts that said "Black Lives Matter."
The 49ers' Thursday away game against the San Diego Chargers is the
team's last preseason contest before the regular season begins.
(Reporting by Marty Graham in San Diego and Rory Carroll in San
Francisco; Writing by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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