49ers' Colin Kaepernick to stop anthem protest because it's a 'distraction'

Controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick, as he embarks on an uncertain NFL future, has decided to abandon his protest of kneeling during the national anthem because it’s a distraction, according to ESPN.

Kaepernick, sources told ESPN, said he fears continuing to kneel would direct attention away from the positive social change he believes he has cultivated or the national discussion on race and inequality he sparked with his dramatic gesture during the 2016 season. Many other athletes across pro sports followed Kaepernick’s lead. But now the originator will stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Kaepernick, 29, plans to opt out of his contract with the 49ers and become a free agent, as he recently hired new agents. His divisive stance could be a factor in his pursuit of a new job as an inconsistent journeyman quarterback.

Kaepernick has pledged to donate $1 million to charities benefiting the underprivileged, through his Colin Kaepernick Foundation, in an ongoing set of 10 monthly installments of $100,000.

Story first appeared on the New York Post.