American football player Colin Kaepernick refused to sing the national anthem in order to protest police brutality against African Americans and found himself in the middle of a storm. He received harsh criticism including videos of fans burning his shirt.

“This is bigger than football,” Kaepernick Photo credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

American football player Colin Kaepernick decided not to stand during the national anthem played at games as part of his protest against racism towards African Americans in the US.  His decision drew mixed reactions. While some showed empathy and support, others criticized him harshly. However, things escalated on Saturday night when a group of San Francisco 49ers fans uploaded videos of them burning his shirt.

Angry fans were recorded burning Kaepernick’s shirt after he once again refused to stand during the national anthem at the team’s game on Friday. “He says he’s oppressed while making 126 million dollars,” Shane White, a San Francisco 49ers fan, wrote on Facebook. White attached a video of him burning the shirt with the name and number of the player to the sound of the Star Spangled Banner. “Well Colin, here’s my salute to you,” he added before burning the shirt.

Kaepernick did not break any rule by refusing to stand during the anthem. The player, who is biracial, was adopted by a white family who kept him in touch with his roots and heritage. He chose to sit on the bench during the national anthem and says he knew the gesture would draw many reactions.

“Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem,” the NFL stated. “This is what American servicemen and women have defended here and abroad — Kaepernick’s right to sing the national anthem at the top of his lungs and to refuse honor it altogether,” said Ian O’Connor, a sports columnist.