Kaepernick began sitting during the national anthem during the 2016 preseason in order to protest police killings of unarmed black men and racial inequality in America. During the regular season, Kaepernick, along with other teammates, kneeled during the national anthem. His protest became the subject both of scrutiny and solidarity around the league.
Sources said that Kaepernick believes one of the primary goals of his protest has been realized, pointing to the growing national discussion on social inequality as well support from NFL and NBA players. He also said that he no longer wants the protest to be the primary focus and wants the actual changes being made to take center stage. Kaepernick will opt out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers and become a free agent this week, according to ESPN.
At the start of the 2016 season, Kaepernick pledged to give $1 million to various organizations tackling social inequality. He gave out a $100,000 donation every month over multiple months to different organizations. Kaepernick also launched his Know Your Rights camp in Oakland and plans to expand the education program in 2017.