FRISCO (105.3 The Fan/AP) – Much has been made about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to not stand for the national anthem before his team’s preseason games.
Many players have weighed in on the subject, and today, Cowboys tight end Jason Witten openly answered a question from 105.3 The Fan’s Mike Fisher.
“Certainly we have that freedom in this country. We’re fortunate to be able to (choose). There’s been a lot of guys taking stands and you look at what we did with police families and victims families, that was something we put our efforts into, and we felt that was important. There’s been a lot of talk about it. I love what different guys have said and done. Unique perspectives. Everybody does have a different point of view.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell disagrees with Kaepernick’s choice to kneel during the national anthem, but recognizes the quarterback’s right to protest.
“I support our players when they want to see change in society, and we don’t live in a perfect society,” Goodell said Wednesday. “On the other hand, we believe very strongly in patriotism in the NFL. I personally believe very strongly in that.”
Kaepernick’s protest has dominated the public discussion of the nation’s most popular sport this week, and his stance has been met with passionate condemnation and support. His refusal to stand for the anthem first came to public notice last week when he remained seated on the 49ers’ bench before a preseason game against Green Bay.
The quarterback cited numerous reasons for his actions, ranging from racial injustice and minority oppression to police brutality and the treatment of military veterans.
“I’m not anti-American. I love America,” said Kaepernick after his team’s most recent 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.”
Kaepernick said he plans to continue his protests during the regular season. He also intends to donate $1 million “to different organizations to help these communities and help these people,” declining to provide specifics.
“The message is that 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. There are a lot of issues that need to be talked about.”
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