Since the preseason, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been the center of controversies primarily due to his protests during games. While some, including President-elect Donald Trump, have blamed the quarterback's actions for the decline in the NFL's ratings, Kaepernick maintains that what he's doing is bigger than what's happening in the league.
Before the regular NFL season started this year, Kaepernick has been making headlines after he began kneeling before games as the national anthem plays in the background. As explained by the 49ers quarterback, this is his way of protesting the racial violence and inequality currently plaguing the country.
Days after various NFL players started supporting Kaepernick, the league's ratings went down. In October, during the presidential race, Trump, who was running as the Republican Party's frontrunner at that time, criticized Kaepernick and blamed him for the declining popularity of the NFL among viewers.
"I don't know if you know, but the NFL is way down in their ratings," Trump said according to Sports Illustrated. "And you know why? Two reasons. Number one is, this politics they're finding is a rougher game than football, and more exciting."
"Honestly, we've taken a lot of people away from the NFL," he added. "And the other reason is Kaepernick. Kaepernick."
Like Trump, others also started to believe that Kaepernick and the other players' actions against the U.S. flag and national anthem have affected how people perceive the NFL.
Recently, the quarterback issued a response regarding the matter. According to him, if people think that he's the reason for the drop in ratings, then they should re-assess their views and opinions.
"They're not watching football because of my stance about fighting systematic oppression and wanting the same equality and freedom for all people? I would say they probably need to look in the mirror at what they value," he said according to the Miami Herald.
"You know, if they're OK with people being treated unfairly, being abused, being harassed, being terrorized, then the problem is more with what they're doing in their lives than it is about watching football games," he added.