When San Francisco 49ers linebacker Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the national anthem in protest of the systemic oppression of African Americans, the country erupted.
On Sunday, former 49ers quarterback-turned-ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer entered the discussion when he chastised Kaepernick on his show. Accusing Kaepernick of putting himself "above the team," Dilfer said that he was "a backup quarterback whose job it is to be quiet and sit in the shadows."
Dilfer's comments ignited a storm of criticism, and on Tuesday morning, Kaepernick was given the chance to respond when reporters asked him about it.
"The fact that he says, 'You're a backup quarterback, stay in your place' — that's an issue," Kaepernick said. "To me, you're telling me that my position as a backup quarterback and being quiet is more important than people's lives. I would ask him to really have a conversation with the families of people that have been murdered and see if he still feels that way. Because I bet that he doesn't, just because he hasn't experienced that type of oppression."
Jennifer Lee Chan of SB Nation tweeted a video of Kaepernick's response.
"I hope he goes home and really thinks about what he said and how it impacts not just him, but how it impacts people whose lives are affected by these issues on a daily basis," Kaepernick added.
His continued protest has sparked fervent discussion on what it means to be an American. One the one hand, many are outraged by what they call his lack of patriotism. On the other, there are plenty who argue that Kaepernick's protest is "fundamentally American," the right to protest being the epitome of American freedom.
Cover image via Shutterstock.