Here’s how Colin Kaepernick’s decision to not stand during the anthem has evolved into a nationwide protest among NFL players

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Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

When Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem before the San Francisco 49ers’ preseason game in August, he was the only NFL player who did so and he said he was doing it to protest social injustices.

The quarterback’s move has immediately lit the sports world on fire and has stirred a national conversation. His protest has been continuously joined by teammates and other players in the NFL league.

Here’s a complete timeline of Kaepernick’s protest starting as an individual attempt and every NFL player who has followed suit.


Aug. 14 and Aug. 20 — Kaepernick made headlines by sitting during the the 49ers third preseason game. However, nobody noticed that he also also sat during the first two games — he wasn’t in uniform and didn’t play.

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Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Source: Twitter


Aug. 26 — Kaepernick gained national attention when sitting during the playing of national anthem before the 49ers’ preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s stadium.

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Jennifer Lee Chan/SB Nation

Source: Pro Football Talk


Aug. 26 — Colin Kaepernick explained why he sat during the national anthem, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

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Chris Carlson/AP

Source: NFL.com


Sept. 1 — For the first time during his protest, Kaepernick wasn’t alone. San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid joined Kaepernick in taking a knee during the anthem prior to the preseason game in San Diego.

Source: NFL.com


On the same night, the first non-teammate joined Kaepernick and Reid in protest just minutes after the two 49ers players took a knee. Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane sat on the bench during the anthem in Oakland, ”I wasn’t trying to say anything. Just standing behind Kaepernick,” Lane said after the game.

Source: The Seattle Times


Sept. 9 — Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall took a knee prior to the Bronco’s opening night game against the Carolina Panthers. He became the first NFL player to knee or sit for the anthem before a regular season game.

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USA Today Sports/Reuters


“I’m not against the military. I’m not against the police or America. I’m against social injustice,” said Marshall, who was a college teammate of Kaepernick at the University of Nevada.


Sept. 11 — Dolphins, Seahawks, Chiefs and Patriots players demonstrate during nation anthem on the first Sundy of the NFL season. Four Dolphins players — Arian Foster, Michael Thomas, Kenny Stills and Jelani Jenkins — stood for a 9/11 acknowledgement but took a knee during the anthem.

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Stephen Brashear/AP

Source: Pro Football Talk


After the game, Foster expressed his love for this country and explained that his protest did not interfere with any pregame 9/11 acknowledgement: “Don’t let the love for a symbol overrule the love for your fellow human.”

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Michael Ainsworth/AP

Source: SB Nation


The entire Seahawks team locked arms during the anthem to continue the heated conversation that Kaepernick started.

Source: The Seattle Times


Kansas City Chiefs players interlocked their arms during the national anthem before playing the San Diego Chargers. Cornerback Marcus Peters raised his fist in the air to show support of Kaepernick’s protest against social injustices.

Source: The Kansas City Star


New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett and safety Devin McCourty also raised their fists following the conclusion of the anthem on Sunday night.

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Screenshot via NBC

Source: NESN


Patriots’ Devin McCourty explained his move: “We’ve talked as players throughout the league trying to make change in our communities one by one using our platform.”

Source: NESN


Sept. 12 — Kaepernick and Reid continued their national anthem protest before Monday Night Football.

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Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Source: Reuters


Eric Reid talked about his kneeling in a tweet: “I hope that through my actions comes continued dialogue and through dialogue comes change.”

Source: Twitter


Linebacker Eli Harold and safety Antoine Bethea stood, but with their fists raised in the air during the performance of national anthem.

Source: Reuters


Antonie Bethea: “I respect why Kap is doing it. I respect his purpose. This is not to disrespect anyone, but we have a platform and we have to bring awareness to the issues. Now, though, it’s time to take the next step and take actions into the community.”

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Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Source: NFL.com


Sept. 12 — The 49ers players were joined by their opponents on Monday night. Rams defensive end Robert Quinn and receiver Kenny Britt, the latest NFL players to follow suit in protest, also raised their fists during the pre-game national anthem.

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Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Source: Orange County Register


Robert Quinn: “At the end of the day, we come here to play football. But also, you have some might and power and a voice to allow yourself to be heard.”

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Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Source: Orange County Register


The protest has also spread beyond the NFL to soccer player Megan Rapinoe and numerous high school football players. At least one high school player was briefly suspended.


Kaepernick, who started the protest as a lone effort that has now spread across the nation, said, “I don’t want to kneel forever. I want these things to change.”

Source: San Jose Mercury News