SAN DIEGO – Colin Kaepernick promised to donate $1 million to charities that support his call for racial equality in the United States.
On Thursday, Kaepernick and teammate Eric Reid took a knee on the 49ers' sideline during the playing of the national anthem as a protest against police brutality and the oppression of minorities in America.
“I plan to take it a step further,” Kaepernick said afterward in a packed interview room that included 20 national news reporters. “I’m currently working with organizations to be involved and making sure I’m actively in these communities, as well as donating the first million dollars I make this season to different organizations to help these communities and help these people.”
Kaepernick said he is still in discussions with multiple organizations. Kaepernick is guaranteed to earn $11.9 million in base salary this season after already collecting a $400,000 offseason workout bonus.
Kaepernick’s spot on the 49ers’ regular-season roster is not assured, though he did not hurt his cause on Thursday. Kaepernick completed 11 of 18 passes for 103 yards. He also rushed for 38 yards on four rushing attempts.
Afterward, Kaepernick, who has experienced a tumultuous year with the 49ers and its management, said he wants to remain with the team that drafted him in 2011.
“This is a phenomenal organization,” Kaepernick said. “I’ve had great conversations here. I’ve had great memories here. This team has given me the opportunity to become the man I am today. I’m grateful for that, I’m thankful for that. And San Francisco has become my home.”
Kaepernick was booed loudly during San Diego’s Salute to Military night at Qualcomm Stadium. Kaepernick reiterated his protest has nothing to do with his feelings toward the military.
“I realize men and women of the military go out and sacrifice their lives and put their selves in harm’s way for my freedom of speech and my freedoms in this country and my freedom to take a seat or take a knee,” Kaepernick said.
In the third quarter, Kaepernick stood at attention during the singing of “God Bless America.” He applauded the performance of Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Powell from the U.S. Navy.
“I’m not anti-America,” Kaepernick said. “I love America. I love people. That’s why I’m doing this. I want to help make America better. I think having these conversations helps everybody have a better understanding of where everybody is coming from. “
Kaepernick said he hopes that his protest and support of human rights will lead to more dialogue about the subjects.
“That’s something that’s hard for this country to address, what the real issues are and coming to the point that we can admit that these are issues,” Kaepernick said. “Once we admit that, we can deal with it, we can fix them and we can make this country and these communities a better place.”
He said he will probably no longer make the divisive act of taking a seat on the bench during the national anthem.
“I think it will continue to be taking a knee,” he said. “As far as how long this goes, I’m not sure. I want to be able to affect change, and I think there are a lot of other people who want to, as well.”