San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been attacked for being anti-American since he was seen sitting during the national anthem.
He rebutted that notion after the team’s final preseason game on Thursday.
“The media painted this as I’m anti-American, anti-men-and-women of the military and that’s not the case at all,’’ Kaepernick told reporters. “I realize that men and women of the military go out and sacrifice their lives and put themselves in harm’s way for my freedom of speech and my freedoms in this country and my freedom to take a seat or take a knee so I have the utmost respect for them.
“I think what I did was taken out of context and spun a different way.’’
The quarterback also said he’s putting money behind his activism, pledging to donate $1 million to groups that fight for his cause of holding police officers accountable for brutal tactics.
“I’ve been very blessed to be in this position and to be able to make the kind of money that I do and I have to help these people,’’ Kaepernick said.
Many wondered if Kaepernick’s activism would cause a fissure in team chemistry, but head coach Chip Kelly said he supported the team and is pleased with how they’ve handled themselves.
“It is a very thoughtful group and I’m proud of them,” Kelly said, according to the Sacramento Bee. “I’m really proud of how they’ve handled things. And if my job is to hand it off to them and let them handle it, I think they have done a really good job of that.”