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49ers to Donate $1 Million to Bay Area Organizations After Kaepernick Protests

Colin Kaepernick is making a difference.

Mike Vorkunov

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Colin Kaepernick is not only converting people to his cause with his protests; he's bringing about action now, too.

The San Francisco 49ers will donate $1 million to Bay Area groups that deal with fighting social inequalities, according to an ESPN report.

Just think about that. When Kaepernick decided to sit rather than stand for the national anthem, trying to draw attention to systemic inequality for blacks in the United States, he drew widespread scorn from inside and outside the NFL. But the 49ers never rebuked him, even when it would have been simpler and easier to do so in a league that has nearly institutionalized its concept of patriotism. They remained mostly quiet, releasing an anodyne statement.

"In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression," the 49ers said, "we recognize the right of an individual to choose to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem."

Now the organization is going to put money toward a cause, ostensibly the same one that Kaepernick is speaking for. That this news is coming Thursday, just hours before the NFL starts off its latest season with its usual glob of self-promotion and glorification and retrenchment as America's addiction, is no small note, either. The Niners could have waited. They could have done it sooner. They could have picked their time. Yet the news leaked today.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks are considering a team-wide protest themselves. Other athletes, like Megan Rapinoe, are following along in places outside of football. Kaepernick's jersey has shot to the top of the best-seller list and he's donating the proceeds, too.

This is Kaepernick bringing about action—maybe not change so far, but at least consideration and publicity—something his detractors criticized was lacking from, and therefore undermining, his sit-down in the first place.

Colin Kaepernick has not won, but he is scoring points already.