Colin Kaepernick joins high school team's national anthem protest

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Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest has spread to other pro players, and now even high-school players are joining in.

And on Friday night, Kaepernick joined some of those high-school players.

The players at Oakland’s Castlemont High School are staging their own protest to bring awareness to racial inequality, as they lie on the ground with their arms up during the anthem. On Friday, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback joined them, taking a knee as he has for his own games the past few weeks.

Kaepernick spoke to the players before their game against King’s Academy too. It was part pep talk, but mostly a speech about social awareness.

“I know situations like a lot of y’all might be in where people don’t treat you the same, they don’t give you that time of day, they don’t give you those opportunities to be the best you can be,” Kaepernick said, according to Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News.

“That’s why I made the decision to do what I did. You all inspired me with what you did, following that and standing up. You all are doing this at a much younger age than what I did. This took me a while to get to this point. And you all are conscious of this at this point in time to make that stand.”

Kaepernick told the players he wanted to be there for them because they showed they supported his cause, and he appreciated it.

“You are important,” Kaepernick said, according to Inman. “You make a difference. This matters. Everything you do matters. Look out for one another. Lift each other up. That’s what this is about.”

There are plenty of things an NFL player could be doing on a Friday night, so it’s telling that Kaepernick wanted to come to a high-school game. He clearly thought it was important to spread his message of equality and activism to high-school kids who are understanding they have power to stand up and peacefully demonstrate for what they believe in. It had to be a powerful moment for the players.

Kaepernick’s protest started with him sitting during the national anthem, and nobody even noticed until the 49ers’ third preseason game (Kaepernick was injured and not in uniform for the first two games). Since then many NFL teams have had at least one player protest either by kneeling or raising a fist during the anthem, Kaepernick has had his jersey sales skyrocket (he said he plans to donate the proceeds to organizations that fight for equality) and he has raised awareness throughout the country. Kaepernick even landed on the cover of Time magazine this week.

Who knows if Kaepernick thought his protest would lead to so much constructive conversation nationally over important issues, but after about a month the movement is still growing. Kaepernick’s message seems to keep getting stronger.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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