Fact Check

Did Colin Kaepernick Say He Would Stand for the National Anthem If Signed by an NFL Team?

News reports were based on false claims made by a CBS reporter, who has since resiled from them.

Published Oct 11, 2017

 (Brook Ward/Flickr)
Image Via Brook Ward/Flickr
In October 2017, Colin Kaepernick told a CBS reporter he would stand for the national atnthem if he were signed by an NFL team.

In October 2017, a rumor spread that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick -- who National Football League teams have refused to sign since his 2016 silent protest during the national anthem -- had said he would be willing to stand during the national anthem if he was signed by a team.

Kaepernick was the first NFL player to sit, and then kneel, during the anthem, in protest against police brutality and racial injustice.  

The Daily Wire web site wrote:

According to a breaking news report from the Associated Press, former San Francisco 49ers second string quarterback Colin Kaepernick now says that he'll stand during the national anthem if an NFL team suddenly decides to give him a job:

According to CBS News, which sat down with the out-of-work NFLer for "several hours," Kaepernick is actively looking for work, and is willing to abdicate his year-long national anthem protest, if only an NFL team would deign to allow him to warm their bench.

The sports web site Bleacher Report similarly reported:

Free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who remains unsigned after sitting or kneeling during the national anthem throughout the 2016 season, said he plans to stand if signed by an NFL team. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports revealed Kaepernick's intentions Sunday.

These reports (and others) were ultimately based on claims made by CBS reporter Jason La Canfora, who has since resiled from these claims. The Daily Wire's story has been updated to reflect that, and the Associated Press has deleted its tweet. However, as of press time, the Daily Wire's article retained its original, inaccurate headline "QB Colin Kaepernick Now Says He'll Stand for the National Anthem If He's Signed to a Team." As of press time, the Bleacher Report has not yet updated its story.

On 7 October 2017, CBS reporter Jason La Canfora appeared on the show NFL Today and summarized a conversation he had had with Kaepernick. During that segment, La Canfora described the player's determination to return to an NFL team, and claimed:

He's not planning on kneeling, he's going to donate all his jersey sales, and he's planning on standing for the anthem, if given the opportunity. 

However, a day later Colin Kaepernick appeared to allude to the inaccuracy of that account, in this tweet:

Kaepernick's girlfriend, radio presenter Nessa Diab, directly refuted La Canfora's claims:

NFL Today deleted a video of La Canfora's claims from its Twitter account, and La Canfora himself posted a series of tweets clarifying that he had not, in fact, discussed the possibility of standing for the national anthem in his conversation with Kaepernick.

It was not the first time that a news organization reported Kaepernick's purported willingness to stand during the anthem. In March 2017, Adam Schefter wrote an article headlined "Colin Kaepernick to stand during national anthem next season," in which he cited anonymous sources: 

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick will stand during the national anthem next season, sources told ESPN on Thursday.

Kaepernick no longer wants his method of protest to detract from the positive change he believes has been created, sources told ESPN. He also said the amount of national discussion on social inequality -- as well as support from other athletes nationwide, including NFL and NBA players -- affirmed the message he was trying to deliver.

Schefter did not quote Kaepernick himself in the article or offer verifiable proof. We could not find any evidence to corroborate Schefter's claim. 

Dan Mac Guill is a former writer for Snopes.