Footballer Kaepernick defies booing as he vows to continue anthem protests

San Francisco 49ers star Colin Kaepernick vowed to maintain his boycott of the US national anthem after being roundly booed for once again refusing to stand when it was sung before a game. The quarterback and team-mate Eric Reid dropped to one knee on the sidelines as a naval officer sang the first notes of The Star-Spangled Banner and dozens of military members unfurled an oversized flag on the field. His protest over racial injustice in the U.S. was echoed in Oakland, where Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane showed his support by sitting on the bench during the anthem. After the game, Kaepernick brushed off the charges of not being patriotic. “I’m not anti-American, I love America, I love people,” he said. “That’s why I’m doing this. I want to help make things better.”

I’ve had more conversations about human rights and oppression and things that need to change in the past week than I’ve had in my entire life. The fact that those conversations are happening is a start.“

Colin Kaepernick

Kaepernick, who came to attention when he stayed seated during the anthem before a preseason game against Green Bay last week, said he planned to continue his protests throughout the season. The 28-year-old’s latest gesture came on a night when the San Diego Chargers honoured US military personnel in a Salute to the Military. Kaepernick says he wants to highlight the treatment of military veterans and their high rates of suicide. He said: "This country will let those vets go and fight the war for them but when they come back they won’t do anything to try to help them.” He had drawn condemnation from police groups earlier in the day after it emerged he had worn socks during training that depicted cartoon pigs wearing police hats.

We have cops that are murdering people … I have uncles and friends that are cops and I have great respect for them. They genuinely want to help and protect people, but that’s not the case with all cops.

Colin Kaepernick