Kaepernick sat out national anthem to protest racial inequality

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Colin Kaepernick has vehemently defended his decision not to stand for the United States national anthem before a San Francisco 49ers preseason game on Friday.

Kaepernick remained seated on the bench during the anthem before the 49ers' defeat to the Green Bay Packers at Levi's Stadium.

The 49ers released a statement defending Kaepernick's decision, which the quarterback says he made in order to protest against racial inequality.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour," Kaepernick told NFL Media.

"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."

Kaepernick added that he knows his decision is controversial, but felt he needed to speak up. The 28-year-old said he did not make the 49ers aware of his intention not to stand for the anthem beforehand. 

"This is not something that I am going to run by anybody," Kaepernick explained.

"I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed.... If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right."