If football doesn’t work out for Colin Kaepernick, he may find success as a motivational speaker.
The 49ers’ second-string quarterback has seen little play since the organization went with Blaine Gabbert to start. Kaepernick briefly took the field during the final minutes of the team’s opening day matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. Yet it’s what he’s doing on the sidelines and off the field that’s making all the difference.
Kaepernick journeyed across the bay to Oakland on Friday, where he paid a visit to the Castlemont High School football team. His powerful locker room speech to the team was about far more than football.
“I had to come support y’all, because the same way y’all took a stand and stood with me, I had to come out here and stand with y’all. So I appreciate what y’all did. I love y’all. Y’all my brothers. I’m here with you,” Kaepernick said, citing the team’s own demonstrations that mimic his own.
The Castlemont Knights during the National Anthem before last Friday's football game in Oakland: pic.twitter.com/AJvsP3maDR
— Castlemont Football (@CastlemontFB) September 20, 2016
Colin Kaepernick supporting the Castlemont Knights football team at tonight's game. pic.twitter.com/Aouav2wVTa
— Castlemont Football (@CastlemontFB) September 24, 2016
During the preseason, Kaepernick came under fire for kneeling during the national anthem, a protest meant to call attention to the racial inequalities and violence against minorities plaguing the United States. Fellow NFL players have followed suit, and the 49ers organization as well as the league itself are in full support of his right to demonstrate.
For Friday night’s game, Castlemont players took an even bolder approach.
Kaepernick came to Oakland, CA. He kneeled on one knee, players laid on their back with hands up during the Anthem. pic.twitter.com/Cae4sTopac
— Kirk Morrison (@kirkmorrison) September 24, 2016
Kaepernick’s appearance follows mere days after the Oakland Unified School District’s Honor Band similarly protested during their performance before an Oakland A’s game.
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The OUSD Honor Band played the National Anthem before tonight's #Oakland A's game. Near the end of the song, most of the 155 middle and high school students took a knee in protest against police brutality and unfair treatment of people of color in #America. The crowd responded with enthusiastic applause. #iamOUSD
Elsewhere in Oakland, the city has continued to show love for Kaepernick. There now stands a brilliant, full color mural of the quarterback in downtown Oakland.
— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) September 23, 2016