When the national anthem played before the start of the preseason game with the Green Bay Packers on Friday night, Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, took a stand by not standing.
Explaining the gesture, Kaepernick said that he had decided to remain seated as a statement against racial oppression.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he told NFL Media in an interview published on Saturday.
“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” he said.
On his Twitter feed, Kaepernick curates a timeline of events that have found a place in the national discourse about race, politics and police behavior, including a protest by white supremacists in front of an N.A.A.C.P. headquarters in Houston, an article about how Arizona teenagers were forced by their school to change out of their Black Lives Matters shirts, and the fatal police shooting of an armed black man in Milwaukee.
“There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” he said.
Kaepernick, who is biracial and was adopted by white parents, said he had discussed his feelings with his family and, after months of witnessing recent civil unrest, he decided to be more active, according to the NFL Media report.