As the NFL kicks off the regular season, it will do so with a protester in its midst. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has chosen not to stand during the national anthem through the preseason, promises more of the same when his team hosts the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football.
There has been plenty of backlash against Kaepernick, but he says he is committed to standing up (or sitting down, as the case may be) for what he believes in. He tried to clarify just exactly what he is protesting in an interview with NFL.com in late August.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Kaepernick is not the first – and likely won't be the last – to use his athletic stage to make a political statement. While the Seahawks stood during the national anthem and locked arms with each to show racial unity Sunday in Seattle, players on other teams chose to kneel or raise fists. Since 2014, black athletes, often through the "Black Lives Matter" movement, have used their platforms to protest.
But American athletes have chosen to bring politics to the baseball field, basketball court and Olympic track throughout history. Following is a look at some of the more renowned demonstrations:
Tommie Smith And John Carlos