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Colin Kaepernick speaks to Oakland high school football players: ‘You are important. You make a difference.’

A mural depicting Kaepernick was also painted in downtown Oakland.


April Siese


Posted on Sep 24, 2016   Updated on May 25, 2021, 10:40 pm CDT

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.

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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.

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’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.

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.

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*First Published: Sep 24, 2016, 2:53 pm CDT