Kyle Long stands for national anthem but supports bringing racism to light

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick raised the issue of whether it's appropriate to sit during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, and many players, coaches and fans have either praised his stance or vilified him as unpatriotic.

Bears tackle Kyle Long seems to express support for both sides.

"I will always stand for the national anthem," Long tweeted. "I will also acknowledge the fact that racism is real. People deal with it every day. It's wrong."

Former Bear and current Dolphins tackle Jermon Bushrod retweeted Long's comment. Long has previously expressed admiration for Blackhawks tenor Jim Cornelison's famed rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and in 2012 tweeted, "National Anthem gives me chills everytime #USA."

Long, who has been sidelined by a lingering shoulder injury, was not available for comment, according to a Bears spokesman.

On Friday, Kaepernick sat during the anthem before the 49ers-Packers exhibition game, and the quarterback later defended his decision as a means of protesting systemic racism against people of color.

"This country stands for freedom, liberty, justice for all — and it's not happening for all right now," Kaepernick told reporters.

In recent months, Kaepernick has frequently posted social media messages about Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland and other African-Americans who have died or been injured during encounters with police. He also has retweeted links from Black Lives Matters supporters such as New York Daily News columnist Shaun King.

Other figures in the NFL world voiced their approval or disapproval of Kaepernick's approach to activism. Bills coach Rex Ryan said observing the anthem is "a way of showing respect for the men and women who have served our country and are currently serving our country and that’s kind of how I look at it."

Broncos tackle Russell Okung referenced two other athletes who were controversial activists for their times: "There may have been another way for @Kaepernick7 to express his views. Bill Russell and Ali were two people largely misunderstood too."

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