An NFL player who refused to stand for the national anthem has said he will not “stand and show pride” for a country that oppresses people of colour.
Colin Kaepernick, an American football player for the San Francisco 49ers, was booed by some fans when he took to the field after refusing to stand as the anthem was played on Friday evening.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour," he said. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Racial tensions in the US have been steadily mounting after instances of police brutality and fatal shootings against black people. The Black Lives Matter movement has launched in response and a number of high-profile people including Beyonce and Jessie Williams have demonstrated their support after a number of police shootings this year.
The NFL said players are “encouraged but not required” to stand during the National Anthem. Kaepernick 's coach Chip Kelly also supported his decision and said it was his "right as a citizen" to choose whether he stood for the anthem.
Twenty years ago the NFL suspended player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf for one game for not standing during the national anthem.
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