After igniting a national conversation about what it means to be a person of color livingĀ in America last year, Colin Kaepernick has decided he won't continue protesting the national anthem inĀ the next season, USA Today first reported on Thursday.

Last season,Ā Kaepernick sat or kneeled during the national anthem at every San Francisco 49ers game, saying at the time he couldn't "show pride for a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.ā€

Kaepernick is expected to opt out of his contract with the 49ers,Ā but he isn't planning to continue theĀ protest going no matter where he plays, a source with knowledge of his decision toldĀ USA Today.Ā ESPN later also confirmed the news, with sources saying the quarterback doesn't want the protest to distract from the issues at hand.

Kaepernick hasn't made any announcement whether he would continue the protest.

The act of refusing to stand for theĀ anthem cast Kaepernick into the national spotlight and ignited a debate about police brutality and white supremacy into sports, a realm oftenĀ insulated from politics. While conservatives reviled the football player for the decision, other NFL playersĀ also joined in on the protest.


Whatever's next for Kaepernick, the movement for black lives will continue on.