U.S. veterans are taking to social media to support beleaguered San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been pilloried for his decision to not stand for the national anthem during NFL games in protest of racial injustice.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick walks off the field after warm ups before an NFL preseason football game  against the San Diego ChargersThursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick walks off the field after warm ups before an NFL preseason football game against the San Diego ChargersThursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

“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 in an exclusive interview after his first protest on Aug. 26. “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.”

Since then, the NFL quarterback has faced a tide ofcriticism, with many deeming his stance as unpatriotic and unappreciative of the sacrifices made by members of the armed forces.

“What happened 2 being a leader for your team, your family & the young people looking up to U? Appreciating the 1000’s who have died for you?” Jeff Garcia, a former 49ers Pro Bowl quarterback tweeted Aug. 27.

“It blows my mind how many people hate the country they live in,” commented former Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates.

But droves of people are standing up for Kaepernick, including fellow professional athletes and, notably, veterans of all races who have taken to social media with the hashtag, #VeteransForKaepernick.

“Don’t use my service—or that of any veteran—to justify the silencing of Black Americans. Not on my watch. #VeteransForKaepernick,” tweeted user Charles Clymer.

Black Twitter user “Brandy” with the handle @S4Diva1978 said, “I was brave enough to defend the rights of EVERYONE… Even those who dislike people like me. #VeteransForKaepernick”

“I serve to protect your freedoms, not a song,” wrote Jeffrey Crossman.


Twitter user Corey Bliss added: “I was Black before I joined and I’ll be Black when I finish serving my time. #VeteransForKaepernick @Kaepernick7”

Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO