San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick joined players from an Oakland, California, high school football team in their protest during the national anthem.
Kaepernick attended the Sept. 23 Castlemont High School Knights football game to support the team, ESPN reports. Players on the team made headlines on Sept. 16 when they kneeled with their fists raised during the national anthem.
“You are important, you make a difference, this matters,” Kaepernick told the team in the locker room before the game. "Everything you do matters."
When the players took the field and the national anthem began, they laid on their backs with their hands in the air.
Kaepernick took a knee behind them, as he has at 49ers football games throughout the season as part of his silent protest against racial injustice and police brutality.
ESPN’s Kirk Morrison, a former NFL player, shared a photo of the protest on Twitter.
“Kaepernick came to Oakland, CA,” Morrison tweeted on Sept. 24. "He kneeled on one knee, players laid on their back with hands up during the Anthem."
Kaepernick told the team how much he appreciates their support.
"I had to come support you all, because the same way you all took a stand and stood with me, I had to come out here and stand with you all," Kaepernick told the team. "So I appreciate what you all did. I love you all. You all are my brothers, I'm here with you."
Castlemont High School students aren’t the only ones in Oakland joining Kaepernick’s protest.
Nearly all of the middle and high school students in the Oakland Unified School District’s honor band took one knee while playing the national anthem during the Sept. 20 Oakland A’s baseball game.
Teachers and administrators supported their actions.
"We're proud of our thoughtful and courageous students for standing up -- or kneeling down -- for what they believe in," district spokesman John Sasaki told Mashable on Sept. 22.
"They knew going in that this is a super controversial issue across the country yet still wanted to make a statement,” he added. “These are some courageous kids. This was their idea. No one pushed them to do this."