SAN DIEGO, USA – San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was subjected to loud booing on Thursday, September 1 after once again refusing to stand during a rendition of the US national anthem.
Kaepernick has triggered furious debate in the United States over his decision to sit during the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” in a protest aimed at drawing attention to the plight of blacks in America.
The 28-year-old signal-caller crouched on one knee during the anthem on Thursday as the 49ers played the San Diego Chargers at the Qualcomm Stadium in Southern California.
The latest protest came on a night when the Chargers honored US military personnel in an annual “Salute to the Military.”
San Diego has a large population of US military personnel, and is home to a large US naval base.
Following the rendition of the anthem – sung by a US serviceman – Kaepernick was booed relentlessly by the local crowd every time he took a snap in the opening plays of the game.
However the jeers did little to deter Kaepernick, with the quarterback leading the team on a smooth opening drive for an early touchdown to the put the 49ers ahead.
Kaepernick’s protest has divided opinion, with many decrying his actions as disrespectful or unpatriotic.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump described the protest as a “terrible thing” and suggested the player should move to another country.
“Maybe he should find a country that works better for him, let him try, it’s not gonna happen,” Trump said.
However Kaepernick’s stance has won applause from veteran civil rights campaigners and sporting icons including Tommie Smith, the sprinter who was ostracized for his clenched fist salute alongside John Carlos at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games.
“He’s just speaking out (but) he used a platform that many Americans don’t agree with,” Smith said on Tuesday.
“He’s being vilified in how he brings the truth out. I support him because he’s bringing the truth out – regardless of how done. If it’s not done violently, at least he should be heard.” – Rappler.com