John Legend Says He Doesn't Love the National Anthem and Calls It 'Weak'

John Legend tweeted, "For those defending the current anthem, do you really truly love that song? I don't and I'm very good at singing it. Like, one of the best"

Photo: Danny Moloshok/AP Images

John Legend is standing with Colin Kaepernick. Or, rather, not standing.

The 37-year-old singer tweeted his support for the controversial 49ers quarterback, who has been refusing to stand for the national anthem until there is a “significant change” in the oppression of people due to their race in the United States.

Legend’s comments about the issue began after he tweeted an article about the “Star Spangled Banner” that claims an often unsung verse in the Francis Scott Key tune “literally celebrates the murder of African-Americans.”

The verse goes:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

He called the song “weak” – offering another song up as a new national anthem. “My vote is for “America the Beautiful,” he said.

Legend then doubled down on his view, saying “For those defending the current anthem, do you really truly love that song? I don’t and I’m very good at singing it. Like, one of the best.”

Kaepernick’s decision not to take a stand for the anthem made headlines on Friday, after he remained seated in all preseason games – including one against the Green Bay Packers in Santa Clara, California.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told Steve Wyche of NFL Media.

“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” he continued. “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Since then, he has remained seated – telling reporters on Sunday that he’ll continue to sit “to stand with the people that are being oppressed.”

He said: “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 and this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”

Kaepernick cited police brutality as one of the ways African-Americans and other minorities are being mistreated in the country.

“There’s people being murdered unjustly and [people are] not being held accountable,” he said. “Cops are getting paid leave for killing people. That’s not right. That’s not right by anyone’s standards.”

Kaepernick has been outspoken on social media about similar issues, providing his 845,000 Twitter followers and 1.3 million Instagram followers with daily updates about racial injustices.

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While his decision not to participate in the tradition caused many to criticize the player, the NFL does not require players stand for the anthem, NFL Media reports.

“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” Kaepernick told the outlet. “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. If they take football away, my endorsements from me – I know that I stood up for what is right.”

The 49ers also supported his move in a statement, according to ESPN.

“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pregame ceremony,” the team said in a statement. “It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens.

“In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”

Kaepernick said Sunday, “This country stands for freedom, liberty, justice for all – and it’s not happening for all right now.”

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