As the 49ers prepare to face the Chargers in San Diego and as quarterback Colin Kaepernick prepares to exercise his First Amendment-given and NFL-approved right to sit during the national anthem in a town with a high concentration of military personnel, another question is unresolved.
Will he remove the American flag decal from his helmet?
TV footage of last Friday’s game between the Packers and 49ers shows plainly that Kaepernick’s helmet still had a decal of the flag that he has decided not to honor. It’s unknown whether he considered removing it then, or whether he’s considering removing it for Thursday night’s game.
It’s a fair question to ponder, especially in light of the image making the rounds of Kaepernick wearing socks at practice earlier this month showing pigs in police hats. It’s a much broader attack on law enforcement than his deliberate, thoughtful remarks about the topic from Sunday, and it invites plenty of speculation about how else he’ll go about making his point.
The NFL has said that players are encouraged but not required to stand for the anthem. The NFL has not yet responded to the question posed by PFT on Wednesday of whether players may remove the flag decal from their helmets.
UPDATE 11:40 a.m. ET: The NFL says the flag decal on a player’s helmet may not be removed.