*San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will stand during the national anthem next season, sources told ESPN on Thursday.
The athlete doesn’t want his method of protest to detract from the positive change he believes has been created since he began kneeling, sources told ESPN.
He also said the amount of national discussion on social inequality — as well as support from other athletes from both the NFL and NBA — affirmed the message he was trying to deliver.
Throughout his season of kneeling, the Colin Kaepernick Foundation pledged to give $1 million to community organizations helping underprivileged people; the San Francisco 49ers matched with another $1 million in donations. He has also given monthly donations of $100,000 spread out over 10 months to organizations all over the country.
At the end of the season, his teammates voted to give him the Len Eshmont Award, which, according to the team, goes to the player who “best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont, an original member of the 1946 49ers team.” It is the highest in-house honor a 49er can receive.
Kaepernick is expected to opt out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers this week and become a free agent next week, sources told ESPN.