Transcript for 49ers Quarterback Under Fire for Not Standing During the National Anthem
Turning to the NFL star at the center of a national debate before a big game, San Francisco 49er quarterback colin kaepernick refusing to stand for the national anthem. ABC's Ron Claiborne on why the star player says he's staying on the bench. Reporter: It happened before the preseason game against the Green Bay packers Friday night. San Francisco 49ers quarterback colin kaepernick sitting alone surrounded by teammates as the national anthem was played. Kaepernick explaining in an interview with NFL media I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that opresses black people and people of color. To me this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. In a clear reference to police shootings of african-americans he added there were bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder. NBA stars Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony at this year's espys have spoken out on these events. But kaepernick's actions carry powerful symbolism. It wasn't violence at all. If you have personal feelings you keep it to yourself in in house. Keep it in house. You don't do that. You know, it's defacing the flag. Reporter: 20 years ago Abdul Ralph was suspended for refusing to stand for the national anthem. The NFL says kaepernick will not be disciplined and in a statement said players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem. Kaepernick did not say whether he would continue with his protest when the regular season starts. He says if his football career is over he stood up for what was right even if a lot of Americans think otherwise. Everybody watching him now. Ron, thank you.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.