UPDATE: The original statement was based on a recent interview by sports reporter Jason La Canfora which indicated that Kaepernick would consider standing in the future. However, La Canfora later clarified that he was just quoting a prior ESPN report citing anonymous report. A subsequent report from ABC stated “La Canfora tweeted later that he does not know what Kaepernick would do during the anthem. Relying on unnamed sources, ESPN reported in March that Kaepernick would stand during the anthem if he played again. But Kaepernick has not spoken publicly about what he would do.”
Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the player attributed with starting the kneeling during the national anthem trend in the NFL, stated that he is willing to stand for the national anthem if he is given an opportunity to play football again as a member of the NFL. Since leaving the 49ers, Kaepernick has yet to be signed by another team.
As reported by USA Today, Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem during the 2016-17 season in the hope of drawing attention to police brutality and various social issues affecting minorities.
The trend initially spread slowly, though picked up speed this year after Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers and wasn’t able to secure a position with another team.
Other events, such as Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett’s recent claims that he was racially profiled by police in Las Vegas and Trump’s vocal opposition regarding players kneeling during the anthem, added fuel to the fire.
Kaepernick is now focused on getting to be an NFL quarterback again. The report states that he has continued to do on-field work and is maintaining his passing skills by practicing for hours a day at an unspecified location in New Jersey. Kaepernick is also said to be training in a gym, though he does spend some of his time working with local youth in the Harlem area.
He has stated that his agent is communicating with all 32 NFL teams in hopes of securing a tryout. Kaepernick also said that the Tennessee Titans knew he was interested in finding a position, but he was ultimately not one of the four quarterbacks invited to the audition.
Players, coaches, and owners kneeling, remaining seated, or staying in the locker room during the national anthem has spurred a large controversy among fans. It is also at least partially responsible for the declines in viewership as some people are choosing not to tune into games based on the presence of the protest actions.