NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick reportedly will stand for the playing of the national anthem next season, ending a protest that started a national conversation and spread across multiple sports at all levels last season.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Kaepernick, who is expected to opt out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers and become a free agent, believes that his message about police brutality and social equality has accomplished his mission of starting a dialogue.
Kaepernick, Schefter said, no longer wants the protest to detract from what he sees as positive changes.
Kaepernick protested police brutality by remaining seated on the bench during the 49ers' first two preseason games, a move that went unnoticed because he didn't play.
By the third game, he was in uniform and conspicuous by his presence on the 49ers’ bench.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," he told the NFL Network.
"To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
As the season began, he switched to kneeling during the anthem, a form of protest that other NFL players and athletes in other sports adopted.
The 49ers are coached by former Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.