Kaeper­nick: ‘I don’t want to kneel for­ever’

49ers quar­ter­back says shoot­ing deaths must end

- Martin Rogers @mroger­sUSAT

Colin Kaeper­nick has sug­gested that he will need to see sig­nif­i­cant progress to­ward im­prov­ing so­cial jus­tice and racial equal­ity be­fore he con­sid­ers end­ing his na­tional an­them protest.

The San Fran­cisco 49ers backup quar­ter­back ini­tially sat and then kneeled when The Star-Span­gled Ban­ner was played be­fore pre­sea­son games. He took a knee again ahead of the team’s reg­u­larsea­son opener Mon­day.

Kaeper­nick has be­come the fig­ure­head for a grow­ing move­ment around the league and ad­mit­ted he can fore­see a sit­u­a­tion whereby he ends his protest, but only if he feels it has had the de­sired ef­fect.

“I don’t want to kneel for­ever,” he said. “I want these things to change. I do know it will be a process, and it is not some­thing that will change overnight. But I think there are some ma­jor changes that we can make that are very rea­son­able.”

Kaeper­nick said he had held dis­cus­sions with hu­man rights lawyers and com­mu­nity ac­tivists in re­cent weeks in a bid to ed­u­cate him­self and to en­sure that his mes­sage was com­mu­ni­cated in the right way. He ex­pects to re­veal a list of de­sired pol­icy changes once those dis­cus­sions have evolved fur­ther but ad­mit­ted that in the short term he had been greatly en­cour­aged by sim­i­lar shows of sup­port from mem­bers of other NFL teams.

Sun­day, the Seat­tle Sea­hawks stood with linked arms dur­ing the an­them while four mem­bers of the Mi­ami Dol­phins took a knee. Play­ers from var­i­ous teams raised a fist ei­ther af­ter or dur­ing the an­them.

“It has been amaz­ing,” Kaeper­nick said. “I think peo­ple that have known this is­sue is go­ing on just didn’t quite know how to ex­press it and bring at­ten­tion to it. Now that the con­ver­sa­tion is there, they sup­port it and they want to let peo­ple know they are sup­port­ing it and try­ing to bring aware­ness and do things to elim­i­nate that is­sue.”

Kaeper­nick said his ap­proach to fight­ing po­lice bru­tal­ity had largely been formed by read­ing about a series of high-pro­file cases in­volv­ing the death of black peo­ple af­ter clashes with po­lice, such as San­dra Bland, Tamir Rice, Wal­ter Scott and Eric Garner. He also high­lighted an­other case, that of Ter­rence Ster­ling, an African-Amer­i­can man from Washington who was shot to death last week­end.

“The list goes on and on and on,” Kaeper­nick said. “At what point do we do some­thing about it? At what point do we take a stand and as a peo­ple say this isn’t right?

“(The po­lice) have a badge, yes. But you are sup­posed to be pro­tect­ing us, not mur­der­ing us. That is what the is­sue is, and we need to change that.

“Ter­rence Ster­ling … an un­armed black man once again. It has be­come ha­bit­ual. It is an is­sue that needs to be ad­dressed, be­cause it con­tin­ues to hap­pen, and every time it is ‘ad­min­is­tra­tive leave’ (as the pun­ish­ment). That is not right. That is the is­sue that needs to be ad­dressed, and poli­cies need to be ad­dressed to change that.”

 ?? JOHN HEFTI, USA TO­DAY SPORTS ?? 49ers quar­ter­back Colin Kaeper­nick seeks an end to po­lice bru­tal­ity and a change in polic­ing.
JOHN HEFTI, USA TO­DAY SPORTS 49ers quar­ter­back Colin Kaeper­nick seeks an end to po­lice bru­tal­ity and a change in polic­ing.

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