Colin Kaepernick joined an Oakland high school football team in solidarity on Friday night, speaking to players in the locker room and kneeling during the national anthem as they protested.
Castlemont high school players laid on the sidelines, on their backs with their hands up before the game in protest of police brutality and racial injustice. The 49ers quarterback kneeled alongside them.
“You are important,” he told players after the game. “You make a difference. This matters. Everything you do matters. Look out for one another, lift each other up. That’s what this is all about. I had to come support y’all, because the same way y’all took a stand and stood with me, I had to come out here and stand with y’all. So I appreciate what y’all did. I love y’all. Y’all my brothers, I’m here with you.”
During last week’s game, Castlemont players chose to kneel during the national anthem, mirroring Kaepernick’s ongoing protest and garnering some local attention, according to ESPN.
Kaepernick’s decision to kneel has helped spark a dialogue across the NFL and sports at large about race relations, particularly involving police officers and their conduct.