Colin Kaepernick first reached national eyes as a quarterback for the University of Nevada. He entered the 2011 National Football League draft and was picked in the second round by the San Francisco 49ers. Kaepernick came off the bench in place of injured starter Alex Smith in a strange game that ended in a tie, overshadowing the fact that Kaepernick had become the starter.
As Kaepernick performed well the rest of the season, he received high praise . Kaepernick and the 49ers would go on to lose in the Superbowl to the Baltimore Ravens and then lose in the NFC Championship the next year, marking the last time the 49ers reached the playoffs.
In 2015 Kaepernick lost his starting role to Blaine Gabbert, a role that he will continue to serve for at least the beginning of the 2016 season.
However, Kaepernick has been making a name for himself this preseason, but not due to any sport ability. Kaepernick is becoming infamous for his refusal to stand during the national anthem. In an interview with NFL Media, Kaepernick stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” The 49ers have publically stated that despite Kaepernick’s actions, they have and always will continue to play the national anthem.
Many have been split about Kaepernick’s choice of words and action in his continual struggle against “the man.” People who do not support his actions often cite the fact that Kaepernick is half-white by birth, and was raised by two adoptive white parents. Because of this, there seems to be a resounding argument that Kaepernick can’t truly understand the struggle of people of color. There are also arguments that Kaepernick is disrespecting United States soldiers, who the flag and the national anthem are meant to represent.
Meanwhile there are others arguing about the issues of inequality between people who are white and people of color in America.
While there are many videos of current 49ers fans burning their old Kaepernick jerseys because of his actions, his jersey sales have also skyrocketed in the past month, making it the 5th top selling NFL jersey.
His actions have become issues of such controversy that President Barak Obama took time to address the situation. In an interview, Obama said that Kaepernick is “exercising his constitutional right.” Obama also said, “I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues.” In this case Kaepernick is obviously well within the realm of his constitutional right of free speech. However, pictures have surfaced from 49ers practices that show Kaepernick wearing socks of pigs dressed as police officers, a jab at American police officers, prompting some to believe he has gone too far.