In the midst of controversy over his protest of the national anthem, Colin Kaepernick is using the spotlight to address the issues he says inspired his stance.
At Thursday night’s preseason game against the San Diego Chargers, Kaepernick pledged a $1 million dollar donation to groups which address issues of racial and social inequality. He didn’t offer specific details about which groups would receive donations but explained his intentions.
“I’ve been very blessed to be in this position and to be able to make the kind of money that I do and I have to help these people,’’ said Kaepernick. “I have to help these communities. It’s not right that they’re not put in the position to succeed or given those opportunities to success.’’
Kaepernick also recently joined forces with his girlfriend, Hot 97 radio personality Nessa Diab, to donate $60,000 worth of backpacks to students in Harlem and the South Bronx.
As part of his six-year, $114,000,000 deal with the 49ers, Kaepernick’s base salary this year is $11.9 million dollars.
During the game, Kaepernick was the target of loud boos from many attendees in the crowd. He also proudly sported an afro, something many fans noticed and applauded online.
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“The media painted this as I’m anti-American, anti-men-and-women of the military and that’s not the case at all,” Kaepernick said at halftime. “I realize that men and women of the military go out and sacrifice their lives and put themselves in harm’s way for my freedom of speech and my freedoms in this country and my freedom to take a seat or take a knee so I have the utmost respect for them.”
Kaepernick says he will continue to sit during the national anthem but suggested his protest may end if he sees signs of people and communities making change.