On Sunday, the Associated Press tweeted that former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick told CBS he would stand for the national anthem if he played in the National Football League again.
The AP was likely citing CBS’ Jason La Canfora, who said he met with Kaepernick the previous evening to discuss how much the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback wants to return to playing in the NFL.
“He’s planning on standing for the anthem, if given the opportunity,” La Canfora said of Kaepernick.
Shortly after, La Canfora tweeted to clarify that he never actually spoke to the unsigned quarterback about whether he would continue his protest.
“Wanted to clarify one thing regarding [Kaepernick],” La Canfora tweeted. “Standing for anthem wasn’t something that I spoke to Colin about [on Saturday.] I relayed what had been reported about him standing in the future.”
The former quarterback tweeted what is likely a sly response to the viral spread of the erroneous story.
In 2016, Kaepernick ignited a firestorm for his refusal to stand when the United States national anthem was played before National Football League games. His decision, he would explain, was an act of protest against racism in America. It likely cost him his job.
The confusion surrounding whether he would continue to sit out the national anthem if given the chances comes in the midst of weeks of massive protest in the NFL sparked by comments from President Donald Trump, who suggested that team owners fire football players for exercising their constitutional right to protest.
“Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!” the president said at a Friday night rally in September.
But all of this began more than a year ago when Kaepernick vowed that he would sit out the national anthem until the American flag “represents what it’s supposed to represent.”
“I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed,” the quarterback said. “To me this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel like [the American] flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”
Following his high-profile protests, Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco team in March 2017. When, by summer, the former 49er was still jobless, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell explained it had nothing to do with his refusal to stand for the national anthem.
“It did spark conversation, which I think is a part of what Colin Kaepernick intended to do,” Goodell said in June. “I don’t think that’s going to affect people from saying, ‘I’m going to do what’s in the best interest of my football team and give my team the best chance to win,’ because that’s what every team wants to do.”
Oct. 8, 2017 3:57 p.m. Eastern: This story has been updated.