San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick had as eventful a fourth preseason night as a player can have.
First, he continued his much-publicized protest of the national anthem, with 49ers teammate Eric Reid right beside him in support. Then Kaepernick went out and played a pretty good game against the San Diego Chargers, with his roster spot in question. After the game, he spoke with throngs of media — and spoke of the next phase of his plan.
This one had a pretty positive-sounding message, via CSN Bay Area.
“I plan to take it a step further,” Kaepernick said. “I’m currently working with organizations to be involved and making sure I’m actively in these communities, as well as donating the first million dollars I make this to different organization to help these communities and help these people.”
Many who have criticized Kaepernick’s protest have asked what he’s doing about the cause other than sitting down. This helps answer those questions.
A $1 million donation is significant. He is guaranteed to earn $11.9 million in base salary this season — whether or not Kaepernick is on the 49ers’ roster — and already has earned $400,000 in the form of an offseason workout bonus. Kaepernick said he hasn’t yet decided which organization or organizations he plans to donate to but is in discussions with several.
It was clear from Kaepernick’s words and actions before and during the game that he sought to end some narratives that have developed amid this story. One, he says he’s not anti-military; his beef is with the police officers that he says abuse their power against minorities.
“I realize men and women of the military go out and sacrifice their lives and put their selves in harm’s way for my freedom of speech and my freedoms in this country and my freedom to take a seat or take a knee,” Kaepernick said.
Kaepernick went out of his way to display deference to the signing of “God Bless America” by Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Powell from the U.S. Navy in the third quarter.
“I’m not anti-America,” Kaepernick said. “I love America. I love people. That’s why I’m doing this. I want to help make America better. I think having these conversations helps everybody have a better understanding of where everybody is coming from.”
Two, Kaepernick says his plan is to continue not stand during the playing of the anthem — but with a slight change.
“I think it will continue to be taking a knee,” he said. “As far as how long this goes, I’m not sure. I want to be able to affect change, and I think there are a lot of other people who want to, as well.”
Although Kaepernick has taken seeming missteps during his protest, including wearing a Fidel Castro t-shirt and some socks that seemed to be anti-police and cloud his message, it also appears he’s trying to find a positive resolution to a story that has gone beyond sports.
– – – – – – –