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Views: 303, Date:08/Sep/2016

Colin Kaepernick Talks National Anthem Protest, President Obama, Role on 49ers

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is focused on making the biggest possible impact both on the football field and off it in the coming months as he continues to embrace the cause behind his national anthem protest during the NFL preseason.

The 28-year-old 49ers backup spoke with reporters about a wide range of topics Wednesday, including sitting behind Blaine Gabbert on the depth chart. He understands things can change in the blink of an eye, so he's staying ready.

"I have to wait my time and work," Kaepernick said. "I've been in this position before. Last time I was in this position, I ended up in the Super Bowl, so I continue to work and prepare for when that next opportunity comes."

He added: "That's ultimately Chip [Kelly's] decision. All I can do is focus on myself at this point and make sure I'm getting better."

Of course, the headlines Kaepernick has made so far this season haven't had much to do with his role as a quarterback. His decision to sit or kneel during the United States national anthem has led to a wide-ranging national debate about the issue.

He explained to Steve Wyche of NFL.com last month that he knew there were risks involved with the choice, but he moved forward with the protest anyway.

"This is not something that I am going to run by anybody," Kaepernick said. "I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. ... If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right."

On Wednesday, he talked about the next step in the process now that the initial wave of outrage and support is passing.

"I've had a lot of conversations with [activists and leaders] about how to address your issues practically and what reasonable solutions that we feel can be implemented, whether it's legislation or in the community, and make sure these changes are happening," Kaepernick said.

He also admitted that getting support from President Barack Obama, who stated Monday the quarterback "cares about some real, legitimate issues that have to be talked about," was helpful in his efforts to fight racial injustice:

He's someone that also realizes there are many issues that need to be addressed and need changing in this country. The initial shock of what the protest was about and the significance of that was lost in the action and the message wasn't really addressed. I think that was great that he came out and supported the message that we do need to make changes in these areas.

Now the focus shifts to Monday night, when the 49ers are scheduled to open their season with a nationally televised clash against the Los Angeles Rams.

ESPN originally did not plan to show the game's national anthem. The ESPN Public Editor reported that outlook has changed, however, with the network likely airing the moment live on ESPN2 and addressing it during the earlier game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins.


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