Safety Eric Reid knelt beside Kaepernick. In Oakland, meanwhile, Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane sat on the bench during the playing of the anthem, according to the Associated Press. Kaepernick told NFL Network's Steve Wyche on Saturday that he was sitting during the anthem in protest of societal wrongdoings against African-Americans and minorities in the United States.
The Chargers crowd loudly booed the 49ers when they came out on to the field, and once again every time Kaepernick took a snap under center. Kaepernick impressively directed a 15-play touchdown drive on the opening offensive series of the game.
Kaepernick only ran two more series in a quick-moving first half, leading the team to a field goal before halftime. He completed 11 of 18 passes for 103 yards in the 49ers' win, making a strong push to keep his roster spot as the team's backup.
While the former Super Bowl starter's status on this Chip Kelly team is fascinating in its own right, his protest during the national anthem will continue to drive national news. He spoke with remarkable clarity during the team's postgame news conference, ready to answer any question sent his way. Kaepernick spoke of the support he received all week and believed that the protest brought the team together rather than being a distraction.
Kaepernick said he had "many conversations" with Reid about his protest and that his teammate ultimately joined him to show his support.
"He approached me and said, 'I support what you're doing," Kaepernick said. "I support what your message is. Let's think about how we can do this together.'
"We wanted to make sure that the message we're trying to say isn't lost with the action that's coming along with it."
Reid said after the game he wanted to let Kaepernick "know that he's not the only person who feels the way he feels."
Lane expressed that same sentiment to reporters, saying he wanted to show support for Kaepernick and that he didn't tell anyone on the Seahawks before the game that he would sit out the anthem.
"I think I plan (to) keep on doing it," Lane said, "until I feel like justice has been served."
Kaepernick, who said he's donating $1 million to organizations he supports, said he was "very happy and very proud" of Lane for his decision to sit. Kaepernick also clarified what he's trying to accomplish with his protest.
"The message is that we have a lot of issues in this country that we need to deal with," he said. "We have a lot of people that are oppressed, we have a lot of people that aren't treated equally ... there are a lot of issues that need to be talked about, need to be brought to life, and we need to fix those things."
Nate Boyer, a 35-year-old who competed for a job on the Seattle Seahawks last offseason as a long snapper, stood beside Kaepernick during the anthem. Boyer wrote an open letter to Kaepernick on Wednesday expressing his viewpoints, and he told NFL Network's Alex Flanagan on Thursday that they each spoke at length before the game. Kaepernick indicated that Boyer helped him come up with the plan to take a knee before the game rather than sit on the bench out of respect to the military. Kaepernick stood and clapped after the playing of "God Bless America" in the second half of the game.
"I love America," Kaepernick said.
The 49ers have supported Kaepernick's right to protest the anthem. The question entering this weekend of roster cuts: Will he still be on the 49ers' roster when the anthem plays before their season opener?