The Chargers will be holding their 28th annual “Salute to the Military” on Thursday, which is the team’s way of “paying tribute to hundreds of thousands of current and retired military personnel who live and work in San Diego.”
The potential problem for Kaepernick is that a big part of that salute will come during the national anthem, when the team plans to have 240 military members on the field.
From the Chargers official website:
The National Anthem will be performed by Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Powell from the U.S. Navy while 240 sailors, marines and soldiers present a U.S. Super Flag and service emblems from all branches of service. Color guards from the Navy, Marine Corps and Army will present the flag.
Kaepernick has already said that his protest has nothing to do with the military, but people might feel differnetly if he chooses to sit for the national anthem during Thursday’s game, which he currently plans on doing.
“I’ll continue to sit,” Kaepernick said Sunday. “I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”
During the same interview, Kaepernick was asked if he’s worried that something might happen to him during one of his protests.
“Not really too concerned about that,” Kaepernick said. “At the end of the day, if something happens, that’s only proving my point.”
The crowd on Thursday will be heavy on military members, which could actually end up being a good thing. Thousands of military members took to Twitter on Tuesday to show their support for Kaepernick.
“I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country,” Kaepernick said on Sunday. “I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. That’s something that’s not happening.”
Kaepernick’s biggest problem is with police brutality.
“There’s a lot of things that need to change,” Kaepernick said. “One specifically? Police brutality. There’s people being murdered unjustly and not being held accountable. People are being given paid leave for killing people. That’s not right. That’s not right by anyone’s standards.”
Of course, there will also be plenty of police officers at the game, which could make things awkward Kaepernick even if he is supported by the military members at the game.
If the crowd in San Diego does turn hostile, there’s a good chance that Kaepernick will be booed the entire night. The 49ers quarterback is expected to get some serious playing time during Thursday’s game.
Source: CBS Sports / Kaepernick’s next protest could get awkward due to Chargers’ pregame plans