San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who again did not stand for the national anthem before an NFL preseason game, told reporters he would donate the first $1 million he makes this season to community organizations that help people.
Kaepernick spoke after the 49ers’ 31-21 preseason victory Thursday night against San Diego. While a naval officer sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and an oversized flag was unfurled on the football field, Kaepernick and teammate Eric Reid dropped to one knee on the San Francisco sideline.
The gesture drew scattered boos and angry shouts at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium at the Chargers’ Salute to the Military preseason game.
“I'm not anti-American. I love America,” Kaepernick said after the 49ers’ final preseason game. “I love people. That's why I'm doing this. I want to help make America better, and I think having these conversations helps everybody have a better understanding of where everybody is coming from.”
He added that he plans to continue his protests during the regular season. He did not provide specifics about the $1 million donation.
“We have a lot of issues in this country that we need to deal with,” Kaepernick said.
“We have a lot of people that are oppressed. We have a lot of people that aren't treated equally, that aren't given equal opportunities. Police brutality is a huge thing that needs to be addressed.”
Kaepernick kneeled next to Nate Boyer, a former Green Beret who went to training camp with the Seahawks last year as a long snapper.
When the same naval officer performed "God Bless America" before the fourth quarter, Kaepernick remained standing and then applauded along with his teammates.
Kaepernick said his protest is not a criticism of the military.
“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,” Kaepernick said. “So I have the utmost respect for them, and I think what I did was taken out of context and spun a different way.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.