Kaepernick kneels during national anthem after socks stir controversy

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SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) -- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled Thursday evening on the sidelines during the singing of the national anthem ahead of a 'Salute to Military Night' pre-season game against the San Diego Chargers. 

In a show of solidarity, Kaepernick's teammate Eric Reid also kneeled on the sidelines. 

At Firehouse Brewery in Sunnyvale, football fans gathered to watch the game. 

Many fans said Kaepernick should be able to say what he thinks. But many disagreed with the way he's protesting. Before the start of the game, many fans stood during the national anthem.

"It's just kind of natural. I just stood up," said Rob Contois, a 49er fan, " You should stand for your country. It's as simple as that."

At a nearby table, a group of friends gathered for fantasy football. Some say they support the spotlight on reality that Kaepernick's protest brings: the unfair treatment of minorities by some law enforcement officers.
"I like that he's bringing attention to it. It's a touchy subject that people don't want to hear about it," says Carlos Campos, a 49er fan from Sunnyvale.

Kaepernick, who has been the center of attention of late, had already stirred controversy with his apparent anti-police socks.

The socks show cartoons of pigs wearing police officer hats.

On Thursday, Kaepernick explained why he wears the socks in this Instagram post.

This comes after Kaepernick did not stand during the National Anthem at Friday night's preseason game.
Kaepernick spoke to NFL Media after the game saying, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color."

Photos from the Mercury News show Kaepernick wearing the socks since early August.

The 49ers issued a statement about Kaepernick's decision not to stand during the National Anthem saying, "The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem."