Fans Split in Response to NFL Quarterback's Protest

PHOTO: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick answers questions at a news conference after an NFL preseason football game against the Green Bay Packers, Aug. 26, 2016, in Santa Clara, California.Ben Margot/AP Photo
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick answers questions at a news conference after an NFL preseason football game against the Green Bay Packers, Aug. 26, 2016, in Santa Clara, California.

Football fans split in response to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the national anthem as a protest against what he referred to as America's treatment of "black people and people of color."

Some fans angry at Kaepernick's remaining seated during the anthem at a preseason game Friday posted videos on social media of themselves burning Kaepernick memorabilia.

"Good day to get rid of these!," Instagram user treehouse2013 wrote in the description to a video that showed the a pair of earrings shaped like Kaepernick's jersey burned with what appeared to be a blowtorch.

Some critics of the quarterback suggested that he was disrespecting veterans and failing to show adequate respect to a country that helped him become wealthy. Kapernick signed an extension deal valued at over $100 million dollars in 2014.

Others, however, celebrated Kaepernick's protest.

Shaun King, a prominent voice of the Black Lives Matter movement and writer for the New York Daily News, penned a column praising the star player, saying that "the levels of injustice, racism, bigotry and brutality faced by people of color has crossed an invisible threshold in America."

Dan O'Sullivan, a contributor to Rolling Stone and other publications including the socialist-minded Jacobin magazine, joked on Twitter that the protest had made him a fan of Kaepernick.

"I guess I'm the only person online who hated Colin Kaepernick before today and now likes him," O'Sullivan quipped.

Kaepernick told NFL Media yesterday that he chose to stay seated during the playing of the anthem at a game against the Green Bay Packers to show solidarity with "people that are oppressed."

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," he said. "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."

The NFL released a statement on Kaepernick's staying seated during the song, saying: "Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the National Anthem."

ABC News has reached out to Kaepernick for comment but has not yet received a response.

This is not the first time this summer that an American athlete has weighed in on the public debate about race.

Following the police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in July, which were captured on video and spurred protests across the country, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony reached out to fellow athletes on social media, urging them to “step up and take charge.”