Following NFL San Franciso 49ers backup QB Colin Kaepernicks decision to not stand during the national anthem at last week’s game against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick’s next game will be on Thursday against the San Diego Chargers on “Salute to the Military” night.
The conflict of interest will be an interesting contrast to see as several veterans have expressed their displeasure with Kaepernick’s decision considering they have fought for what the American flag represents.
Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Powell, who is black, will be the man to sing the national anthem before the game begins.
A color guard of 240 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines will be holding the massive American flag, which will be covering the majority of the field, while the “Star Spangled Banner” is being played at Quaalcom Stadium on Thursday night.
Live music will also be played before the game by the Marine Corps band before the game and the Frog X parachute team will land inside the stadium before kickoff.
The game, which starts at 7 pm local time, could be a hostile environment for Kaepernick considering it will have many veterans in attendance for the game. San Diego is known to be a city that has a large military presence because there are several Navy and Marine Corps installations.
When asked by media reporters if he feared for his safety, Kaepernick said, “No, because if something happened, you’d be proving my point.”
The 28th annual “Salute to the Military,” game will also have Powell singing “God Bless America” during the game. The 27th annual “Salute to the Military” game was played at the same time last year.
“At halftime the Chargers will recognize six Vietnam War veterans as a remembrance of the 50th anniversary of the war,” the team announced. “The Chargers will also have wounded warriors as special guests and a patriotic fireworks show to wrap up half-time.”
Kaepernick told reporters that he plans to sit during the national anthem for the remainder of the games in protest of “the oppression of black people” as well as police violence until there is a change.
“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,” Kaepernick said.
All eyes will be on Kaepernick on Thursday night before and during the game. He is expected to take a lot of the snaps in the game because it is common for the backup quarterbacks to play during the final preseason game of the year so that the starting quarterbacks can get some rest.
When talking to reporters, Kaepernick said that he respects military service members but thinks that many of them have died in vain.
“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.”