NFL players react to Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been on the receiving end of numerous positive and negative reactions after he made the decision to sit during the National Anthem before 49ers preseason games in protest against racial oppression in the United States.
The people who have weighed in on Kaepernick’s protest range from fellow NFL players and coaches to presidential candidates.
With the quarterback making it clear that he plans to continue sitting through the anthem into the regular season, there are sure to be more reactions moving forward.
Below are some of the reactions from around the sports world regarding Kaepernick's decision:
• Jim Harbaugh, Kaepernick’s former coach with the 49ers, said that he supports the quarterback’s motivation for protesting, but not the method he is using. (Jim Harbaugh, Twitter)
• Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter said he respects a player's right to free speech and would have a private conversation with one of his players if they elected not to stand. (Greg Auman, Tampa Bay Times)
• Saints quarterback Drew Brees disagreed with Kaepernick’s method of protest. “I disagree. I wholeheartedly disagree,” Brees said. “Not that he wants to speak out about a very important issue. No, he can speak out about a very important issue. But there's plenty of other ways that you can do that in a peaceful manner that doesn't involve being disrespectful to the American flag.” Brees called it an “oxymoron” to sit during the anthem. (Mike Triplett, ESPN)
• Richard Sherman agrees with Kaepernick's decision to protest but says the quarterback could have chosen a better platform to get his message across. (SB Nation Seahawks)
• Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers stopped short of discussing the reasons for Kaepernick’s protest, but said the American flag represents to him “the greatest ideals” of the United States. (Sporting News)
• Philadelphia Eagles rookie linebacker Myke Tavarres initially planned to join Colin Kaepernick's protest and refuse to stand during the national anthem at upcoming games but has since reversed course.
• San Francisco 49ers legend Jerry Rice said that he agrees with Kaepernick’s stance, but called him out for disrespecting the flag. (Twitter)
• NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown says that he is 100% with Kaepernick, although he would not protest during the anthem himself. (NFL.com)
• Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said that Kaepernick should considering finding a different country. (Buzzfeed)
• Ravens coach John Harbaugh quoted French philosopher Voltaire to say that he may not agree with Kaepernick’s decision, but that he will defend his right to protest. (ESPN.com)
• When asked about Kaepernick, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said that he is “not here to talk about political commentary.”
• Rodney Harrison said that he doesn’t think Colin Kaepernick understands the things that black men go through every day. (SportsTalk 790)
• The hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick gained traction on Twitter Tuesday as current and former members of the military voiced their support for protecting the quarterback’s first amendment rights. (#VeteransForKaepernick)