Los Angeles (AFP) - Colin Kaepernick says he will continue to boycott the US national anthem during National Football League games as a protest over the treatment of blacks in America.
The San Francisco 49ers quarterback is refusing to stand while the Star-Spangled Banner is played prior to the opening kickoff of pre-season games.
"Yes, I'll continue to sit," Kaepernick told the US media on Sunday. "I'm going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me this is something that has to change."
Kaepernick, who is black, says he won't stand with his teammates for the song until he sees meaningful change.
"When there's significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it's supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it's supposed to, I'll stand."
Kaepernick said his decision comes after years of both witnessing and being a part of racial oppression.
"It's something that I've seen, I've felt," he said.
Kaepernick has come under criticism, especially in social media circles, for his views. Some Americans have suggested that his actions are disrespectful to the US military.
"That wasn't my intention at all. I think now that we have those things cleared up, we can get to the root of what I was saying and really address those issues," he said.
The 49ers and NFL also issued subsequent statements, both noting that while they encourage standing for the anthem, there are no rules against it.
Kaepernick is not expected to be disciplined.