49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will continue to sit for the national anthem until “there’s significant change,” he told reporters on Sunday.
Kaepernick chose not to stand for the anthem before San Francisco’s preseason game on Friday in protest of what he believed was racial oppression.
“This country stands for freedom, liberty, justice for all. And it’s not happening for all right now,” the quarterback said Sunday. “When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent in this country… I’ll stand.”
Kaepernick added that he is not worried about his safety, because if something were to happen to him then it would only go to strengthen his case.
The NFL issued a statement on the protest Saturday, saying that players are “encouraged but not required to stand” during the anthem.
Kaepernick is of mixed descent, and told NFL.com that after discussing things with his family, decided to be more outspoken about racial issues. He is adopted, and was raised by white parents and siblings in California.
The 28-year-old helped lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012, but is currently battling Blaine Gabbert for the starting quarterback spot, which he lost last season.