SAN FRANCISCO — After kneeling during the playing of the national anthem throughout the 2016 season, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will reportedly resume standing in 2017.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, sources said Kaepernick will stand to avoid detracting from progress he believes has been made and the awareness brought to the issue of social inequality.
Several teams indicated they would not consider signing Kapernick if he continued his stance, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report.
Kaepernick’s protest began during the 2016 preseason, and he explained his decision to NFL.com’s Steve Wyche: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. 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.”
When asked about when he would return to standing during the anthem, Kaepernick indicated in September that he would do so in the face of positive change, per Martin Rogers of USA Today: “I don’t want to kneel forever. I want these things to change. I do know it will be a process, and it is not something that will change overnight. But I think there are some major changes that we can make that are very reasonable.”
Regardless of what Kaepernick does during the anthem in 2017, it is currently unclear what uniform he will be wearing.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the 29-year-old veteran intends to opt out of his contract with the Niners to become a free agent.
After initially losing the quarterback competition to Blaine Gabbert, Kaepernick started 11 games last season.
Although he went just 1-10, he put up strong numbers, with 2,241 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions along with 468 yards and two more scores on the ground.