NFL star Colin Kaepernick, who sparked controversy for refusing to stand for the national anthem during an Aug. 26 Packers-49ers football game, is rumored to be transitioning to Islam.
Several reports claim Kaepernick might be converting to Islam for his girlfriend, radio DJ Nessa. Nessa reportedly introduced Kaepernick to her religion’s teachings, and a source told MSN that the pair is planning to have a traditional Muslim wedding.
The reports are just rumors, but they were amplified following the player’s controversial decision not to stand during the national anthem.
Kaepernick said his decision not to stand at the Aug. 26 exhibition game was based on his feelings regarding police shootings and racial oppression in the U.S.
“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 said after the game, according to the NFL. “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."
He added that he did not inform anyone on his team or the NFL about his decision prior to the game.
“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,’ he said. “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed ... If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right."
The 49ers later released a statement regarding their player's controversial decision:
The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.
The team’s coach, Chip Kelly told reporters that Kaepernick’s decision was “his right as a citizen.”
“It’s not my right to tell him not to do something,” Kelly added.