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San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s controversial decision to sit during the national anthem as a way to protest oppression against people of color has triggered a spike in the sales of his No. 7 football jersey.
ESPN says Kaepernick now has the best-selling 49ers team jersey. Before he staged his protest, the jersey of the player nicknamed “Kap” was the sixth-best-selling for the NFL team.
According to Forbes, Kaepernick’s jersey sales have jumped on the NFL Shop site as well, moving to the third-highest-selling jersey spot.
The 28-year-old quarterback has faced heavy criticism for sitting or kneeling during “The Star Spangled Banner” at two preseason games. He says he is doing so to protest racism and police brutality against people of color.
While some angry NFL fans responded to Kaepernick’s protest by burning their Kap jerseys or booing him incessantly, other athletes and Americans have shown their support by purchasing his jersey, not standing during the national anthem or speaking out on his behalf.
Forbes says 49er teammate Eric Reid kneeled with Kaepernick at a preseason game on Sept. 1. Seattle Seahawk defensive back Jeremy Lane also recently sat during the national anthem. On Sunday night, women’s soccer player Megan Rapine, who plays for the Seattle Reign, took a knee during “The Star Spangled Banner” to show solidarity with Kaepernick, says ESPN.
“We need a more substantive conversation around race relations and the way people of color are treated,” Rapine tells ESPN.
“He’s exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so. … I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that have to be talked about. And if nothing else, what he’s done is he’s generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about.”
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