Colin Kaepernick publicly acknowledged the influence his decision to kneel during the national anthem has on young Black athletes throughout the country by speaking to, and kneeling in solidarity with, Black high school players on Friday night (September 23).


The San Francisco 49ers quarterback ventured across the Bay to Oakland—where a mural supporting him emerged this weekend, despite a strong rivalry with the Oakland Raiders—and spoke with players from the Castlemont High School football team before their game. “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 players, referring to their kneeling and raising their fists before a game last weekend. “So I appreciate what you all did. I love you all. You all are my brothers, I’m here with you.”


Later, during the pregame national anthem, Kap took a knee while many of the team’s players and coaches laid on their backs with their hands in the air.

Kap’s kneeling protest against police violence, which draws both widespread support and virulent criticism, continues to influence his professional peers as well. The Root documented many of the NFL players who took knees or raised fists during the national anthem this weekend. Besides Kap and seven of his 49ers teammates, players from the Radiers, Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers and the Washington NFL Team all participated in national anthem protests.

(H/t ESPNNiners Nation