Colin Kaepernick will no longer kneel for the national anthem before NFL games, according to a new report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. And so ends one of the most overblown and debated chapters in recent NFL history.
According to Schefter, Kaepernick “no longer wants his method of protest to detract from the positive change he believes has been created… He also said the amount of national discussion on social inequality — as well as support from other athletes nationwide, including NFL and NBA players — affirmed the message he was trying to deliver.”
Kaepernick ignited opinions in the 2016 preseason when he refused to stand for the national anthem, later telling the media that he was protesting the inequality felt by minorities when it comes to police, including the growing concern over police brutality. He later switched from sitting the anthem out completely to simply kneeling.
Some other players in the NFL (and other pro leagues) joined Kaepernick in his protest, while right-wing critics attacked him for being “unpatriotic” or “ungrateful.” Despite the controversy, Kaepnernick kept his protest going throughout the season, while also putting his money where his mouth is — he donated $1 million to community organizations that specialized in helping minorities. The San Francisco 49ers matched his donations with another $1 million of their own.
Kaepernick is likely going to opt out of his current contract this off-season and become a free agent. He began 2016 as the backup in San Fran behind Blaine Gabbert, but eventually became their starter after Week 5.