ATLANTA - Protesters are set to gather behind Colin Kaepernick this morning outside of the NFL’s headquarters and in different cities throughout the country. The rallies are in support of the former 49er who remains a free agent after his decision to take a knee during the national anthem last season.
He knelt in protest to police shootings and perceived injustices across the country.
Supported by several civil rights groups and celebrities, the rallies comes after a protest in support of the quarterback by current and former New York Police officers in Brooklyn last weekend.
In Atlanta, there are local protests planned, including one at Morris Brown College. It begins at 5:30 p.m. and dozens plan to attend.
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Should players stand for the national anthem? It's a question that has a lot of football fans divided.
This debate started last season when Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem. His supporters believe it's the reason the quarterback is not signed to a team.
More than 173K people have signed a change.org petition called #NoKaepernickNoNFL to boycott the NFL if no team signs Kaepernick. They're promising not to watch or attend games, not buy NFL merchandise or talk about teams on social media.
In a previous 11Alive poll, we asked if you thought Kaepernick should play this season. More than half of you said no and engaged in a sometimes-intense conversation in the comments section.
WHY HE KNELT
In an interview with NFL.com last season, Kaepernick explained why he started first sitting out and then kneeling during the national anthem.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick said, to NFL.com. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
He said, "I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed...If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right."
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