NFL Star Colin Kaepernick Speaks Out After National Anthem Backlash

The San Francisco 49ers quarterback said he will stand for the national anthem when he feels like "that flag represents what it's supposed to represent."
5:20 | 08/29/16

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Transcript for NFL Star Colin Kaepernick Speaks Out After National Anthem Backlash
with that heated debate stirred up by colin kaepernick, the 49ers quarterback refusing to stand for the national anthem before the game. Fans protesting his Jersey burring it, you see some of that right there and now he's speaking out to defend his actions. ABC's Ryan smith is here with the latest. Good morning, Ryan. Reporter: Good morning, George, Amy. Colin kaepernick is speaking out and not backing down with fans by the thousands attacking him for refusing to stand up and some burning his Jersey. He says he is by sitting down issen stag up for what he thinks needs to change. Here's my salute to you. Reporter: Colin kaepernick under fire from fans and fellow players after his refusal to stand up for the national anthem doubling down overnight. I'm going to continue to stand with the people oppressed. When there's significant change and feel like that flag represents who it's supposed to represent I'll stand. Reporter: Kaepernick to the runner. Reporter: The 49ers dual threat quarterback with the rocket arm and lightning quick feet staying seated during the national anthem at Friday's presales game telling the NFL network I'm not going to stand up and show pride in a fashion for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. I have experienced this. People close to me have experienced this. So it's something that needs to be addressed. Reporter: Kaepernick clarifying Sunday that refusing to honor the flag doesn't mean he's disrespecting the military. People are dying in vain because this country isn't holding their end of the bargain up as far as, you know, giving freedom and justice and liberty to everybody. Reporter: The 28-year-old frequently outspoken on civil rights issues online seemingly began his protest weeks earlier sitting during the anthem for the team's previous two preseason games. Though few seemed to notice but after Friday's game, outrage, thousands flooding his Twitter page with comments. Giants receiver victor Cruz saying sitting down isn't the right way to stand up. You have to stand up there with your team and understand that it's just a game and what's going on around the country is bigger than you. Reporter: Others defending him. Mark Cuban weighing in, he didn't throw a bomb, fire a shot, start a riot, throw a punch. He just sat there quietly. Kaepernick says the vitriol he's now face something worth it to make a point. I've had a lot of people come up to me and say, you know, I really respect you for what you're doing and what you're standing for. Reporter: The NFL telling ABC news in a statement players are encouraged but not required to stand during the national anthem. But when asked if this will get him cut, the quarterback says he doesn't know adding that if he's cut, he feels he did what he feels is right and he can live with that at the end of the day, George. Okay, Ryan, thanks. Let's bring in ESPN's Stephen a. Smith for more. You've done a lot on this whole issue of violence and have had special shows on it. What's your take on what he is doing. I understand it and I respect it. I respectfully disagree with how he went about doing it because it's certainly not something I would have done but at the same time we also have to understand that the first amendment to our constitution is freedom of speech, freedom of expression and that's one of the things he exercised here. He wanted to make a point and as mark Cuban pointed out he didn't, you know, didn't plant a bomb, didn't shoot anybody. He didn't do anything. He made a silent protest. He's an unabashed supporter of black lives matter. He addressed the issue of police brutality as insensitive to why he took the position he took. We understand it and, you know, a lot of people within the black community I can tell you for a fact absolutely agree with him. A lot of people don't agree with how he went about doing it. Let's get into that. What about the criticism about how he went about doing it. Some saying it's a distraction from his job. Well, you could -- that's a valid point in some people's eyes but people take stances all the time. If you remember when trayvon martin transpired and other things happened as it pertained to the actions against african-americans you had NBA players putting on t-shirts and some thought that was a distraction and obvious they beg to differ. You see silent protests taking place in recent memory. People who are against the positions that these athletes take will always find an excuse to say that it is a distraction. But what they have to understand particularly when it's emanating from the black community in particular a black athlete the mere fact that it's being debated or people are questioning whether or not it's a distraction, what you're saying to yourself is to not supposed to be a distraction. We're trying to bring attention to an issue. Colin kaepernick felt that way and even though some disagree there are other was would stand by him and say they don't have a problem with what he's doing. What will this mean for his job? Well, it depends. If he can still play, it won't mean much. It'll mean a lot in terms of endorsements. He's definitely going to feel the pinch there and I think he spoke to the fact that he certainly knows that's coming. As it pertains to him having a job in the NFL I don't think this is an issue. I think the fact that he looks subpar and coming off a season where he was a bit subpar, only through six touchdown, five interacceptses, he doesn't look that impressive and there's rumors as to whether or not he's going to get cut. In the end if you can play, there will be somebody who will give you a job because their primary obligation is to try to win football days. If you cannot play they will find an excuse to get rid of you. It is that simple. This won't determine his future as a quarterback in the NFL. His play will. Okay, Stephen a. Smith, thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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