Colin Kaepernick will reportedly stand for the national anthem next season

Colin Kaepernick began the 2016 season by taking a knee during the national anthem. It was how he chose to protest social inequality. It was a controversial decision, one that transcended the sports world.

But Kaepernick, who is opting out of his contract with the 49ers and will be a free agent, has decided that he will stand for the national anthem in 2017, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Kaepernick no longer wants the past method of protest to detract from the positive change that he believes has been created, per sources.

Kaepernick believes the amount of national discussion on social inequality -- as well as support from other NFL and NBA players, women’s soccer and college and high school athletes nationwide -- affirmed the message he was trying to deliver. 

Where Kaepernick will be standing for the anthem is another matter; he will no doubt be able to find work as a backup, and in a passing league woefully short on quarterbacks, he could likely get long looks for several starting jobs, too.

The Browns, an outfit that won just once last season, would presumably have interest. Partly because they desperately need a quarterback, but also because coach Hue Jackson wanted to draft Kaepernick in 2011 when Jackson was with the Raiders. It didn’t happen then, and it doesn’t appear as if it will happen now.

A league source tells Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot that the Browns won’t be in the Kaepernick business, though the team will have its eyes on other veteran options.

Kaepernick began last season on the bench behind Blaine Gabbert, but was reinserted into the starting lineup in mid-October. When it was over, he had started 11 games, completed 59.2 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. He also rushed 69 times for 468 yards and two scores. But according to Football Outsiders’ metrics, Kaepernick ranked 30th among all quarterbacks, just ahead of Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brock Osweiler and Jared Goff.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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