Chip Kelly was on the Murph and Mac show on KNBR on Monday morning and talked about Colin Kaepernick, who has been involved in a controversy involving his refusal to stand for the National Anthem.
"We deal with Colin when he's here in the building in what he does, and he's been all football since he's been here," said Kelly. "We don't have discussions about what's going on politically or in the world. When we're meeting and we're here, we're working and we're all about football."
Chip Kelly on Kap "We don't have discussions about what's going on politically or in the world. When we're meeting we're all about football.— KNBR (@KNBR) August 29, 2016
Kaepernick made headlines all weekend because of his protest of the National Anthem, which he has been doing during the entire preseason. Kaepernick remains seated while his teammates stand and honor the pre-game tradition.
Is it a distraction for the team? "No, I don't think our players were not talking about football, they were answering the questions that were asked of them," said Kelly. "That's not what their focus is. If you ask them football questions, they would have talked about football. I don't say this is harmful to our goal. I think players understand why they are here and what their job is. We're here to win football games for the San Francisco 49ers. I think our players are focused on that. That's kind of where it is. If no one came here and asked them any questions about it, they wouldn't talk about it."
On Saturday, Kelly was asked if Kaepernick's stance impacts the football side of things with the team. "No," answered Kelly. "No, it does not."
Kelly went on to confirm a statement that was made following Friday's preseason loss to the Green Bay Packers – that there has been no discussions of cutting the quarterback.
"It's not my right to tell him not to do something," stated Kelly. "That's his right as a citizen."
"I'll continue to sit," said Kaepernick on Sunday as he addressed the media. "I'm going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me this is something that has to change. When there's significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it's supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it's supposed to, I'll stand."
RELATED Transcript: Colin Kaepernick addresses the media for the first time following National Anthem protest
How does Kaepernick feel about the issue blowing up within the media and among fans as it has? "It wasn't something that I really planned as far as it blowing up," he continued. "It was something that I personally decided – I just can't stand what this represents right now. It's not right. And the fact that it has blow up like this, I think it's a good thing. It brings awareness. Everybody knows what's going on and this sheds more light on it. Now, I think people are really talking about it. Having conversations about how to make change. What's really going on this country. And we can move forward."
The issue could be viewed as a distraction for the team, which has a new coaching staff and is coming off of a 5-win season. "I don't see it being a distraction," said Kaepernick. "It's something that can unify this team. It's something that can unify this country. If we have these real conversations that are uncomfortable for a lot of people. If we have these conversations, there's a better understanding of where both sides are coming from. And if we reach common ground, and can understand what everybody's going through, we can really affect change. And make sure that everyone is trated equally and has the same freedom."