Colin Kaepernick was a second-round draft pick in 2011. The next year he led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl. By 2016, he had begun kneeling on the sideline at games during the national anthem to protest social injustice and police brutality.
Soon after, he was gone from the NFL, and he has not played since. Here’s a timeline of Kaepernick’s pro football and post-NFL days since he first kneeled during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Aug. 26, 2016: During the anthem before a Packers-49ers preseason game, Kaepernick sits on the San Francisco bench. Kaepernick says he sat because the country “oppresses black people and people of colour.” His action does not attract immediate national attention. He mentions that he had earlier not stood for the anthem.
Aug. 27, 2016: Kaepernick’s sitdown begins drawing headlines. Some condemn him for dishonouring the flag and country. Others applaud his motives. The NFL says players are encouraged but not required to stand for the anthem.
Aug. 30, 2016: Former NFL player and ex-Green Beret Nate Boyer suggests to Kaepernick to kneel rather than sit during the anthem.
Sept. 1, 2016: Kaepernick kneels before a road game against the Chargers and says he will donate $1 million to organizations supporting his aims.
Sept. 5, 2016: President Barack Obama defends Kaepernick’s protest, saying it is his constitutional right.
Sept. 7, 2016: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he “doesn’t necessarily agree with what (Kaepernick) is doing,” but supports players who seek changes in society.
Sept. 11, 2016: On the first full day of the regular season, several players kneel during the anthem.
Sept. 12, 2016: Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid kneel before the 49ers’ home game against the Rams. Kaepernick is rehabbing a knee injury and doesn’t play.
Sept. 27, 2016: After criticism from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Kaepernick responds: “He always says make America great again. Well, America has never been great for people of colour. That’s something that needs to be addressed. Let’s make America great for the first time.”
Oct. 16, 2016: Kaepernick returns as 49ers starter in a 45-16 loss at Buffalo and remains the starter the rest of the season.