49ers Quarterback Kaepernick refuses to stand during national anthem

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SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 28: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers in action against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick says he is refusing to stand for the national anthem before games because he believes the United States oppresses African Americans and other minorities.

Kaepernick, who is biracial and was adopted and raised by white parents, says he is “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says that “players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.”

On Friday night against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick remained seated during the national Anthem. According to the Chicago Tribune, the 49ers released a statement stating the national anthem, “is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”

Kaepernick is in competition to win back the starting quarterback job in San Francisco that he lost to Blaine Gabbert last season.