Saturday, June 23, 2018
Sports

Kaepernick takes a knee for anthem

SAN DIEGO — 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid kneeled during the national anthem Thursday night, continuing Kaepernick's preseason campaign to bring attention to his views about racial oppression in the United States.

Kaepernick and Reid dropped to one knee while Naval Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Powell sang The Star-Spangled Banner and dozens of military members unfurled an oversized flag at Qualcomm Stadium before the Chargers' annual Salute to the Military preseason game.

Kaepernick was booed during warmups before the anthem and also when he dropped to a knee by the crowd in San Diego, which has an extensive armed forces community.

Kaepernick said before the game he had invited teammates to sit with him during the anthem but didn't expect any to join him. His invitation apparently was accepted by Reid, the 49ers' starting safety and a fourth-year veteran. Reid, who wasn't in uniform, had been publicly supportive of Kaepernick's stance.

Once the anthem was over, Kaepernick, 28, stood up and was greeted by hugs from a few teammates, as well as Nate Boyer, a former Green Beret who went to training camp with the Seahawks last year as a long snapper. Boyer wrote a conciliatory open letter to Kaepernick this week.

Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the anthem came to public notice last week when he remained seated on the 49ers' bench before a preseason game against Green Bay. He said afterward he had been sitting for the anthem for the whole preseason but hadn't been noticed because he hadn't been in uniform for the first two games because of injury.

Kaepernick got much heavier boos from the San Diego crowd when he took the field to start the game for the 49ers and led them on a 16-play, 85-yard touchdown drive. He is attempting to regain the starting job he lost last season.

Later during the game, the Chargers played Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA and showed military members and veterans on the JumboTron as fans cheered. Kaepernick joined the crowd in standing and applauding.

When Kaepernick left the field after warmups, he was greeted with profanity and obscene gestures from Leo Uzcategui, a 20-year Navy veteran in a military-green Chargers jersey.

"I saw men and women bleed and die for this flag," Uzcategui said. "If he wants to do something, go to some outreach program where he can do some good. And I get it, his First Amendment right. But you don't sit during the presenting of the colors, and you don't sit during the national anthem. That is not the way to do it."

Domenique Banks, a 23-year-old fan from Oceanside, Calif., got the quarterback to sign his Kaepernick jersey before the game. "I told him I appreciate what he is standing up for," Banks said. "He said he appreciated it. Most of the people I talk to say the same thing. I don't like that he is sitting during the national anthem, but I appreciate what he is standing for."

Seahawk sits for anthem: In the first Seahawks game since Kaepernick sat during the anthem, cornerback Jeremy Lane sat throughout the anthem before the final preseason game at Oakland. It was not clear if Lane was showing solidarity with Kaepernick or had other reasons. The team had no comment. Teammates did not appear to react in any way to Lane, a fifth-year veteran, who got up shortly after the song was over.

brady gets work before ban: With the start of his four-game Deflategate suspension days away, Tom Brady played the first half in the Patriots' preseason finale against the host Giants. Brady completed 16 of 26 passes for 166 yards, a touchdown and an interception as New England took a 6-3 halftime lead in a 17-9 loss. Brady begins a four-game suspension Saturday for his role in the use of deflated footballs in the 2014 AFC Championship Game. He won't be eligible to rejoin the active roster until Oct. 3, leaving the team in the hands of Jimmy Garoppolo.

Vikings: Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater visited team headquarters to assess surgery options two days after a freak noncontact injury during practice dislocated his left knee, tore the ACL and caused other significant damage the Vikings have not disclosed. General manager Rick Spielman said a decision about when and where to have the operation should be made before the weekend. Bridgewater, in a statement issued by the Vikings, thanked the organization and expressed appreciation for well wishes from fans. For now, 15-year veteran Shaun Hill will take over for Bridgewater as Spielman and his lieutenants search for other options.

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