Isner blasts Kaepernick's 'pathetic' anthem protest

John Isner (Getty Images)
John Isner (Getty Images)

New York - US tennis player John Isner weighed in on Colin Kaepernick's controversial US national anthem boycott on Monday, calling the San Francisco 49ers quarterback's action "pathetic".

Isner said he respected Kaepernick's aim of drawing attention to racial inequality in America, but thought the NFL player's refusal to stand for the Star Spangled Banner prior to a pre-season game was a poor means of protest.

"I thought that was pathetic from him," Isner said after a five-set victory over young compatriot Frances Tiafoe in the first round of the US Open on Monday.

"The cause he was going for, fine by me, but don't do it in that fashion," Isner added. "He could have found some other ways to present his voice there. A lot of NBA players have done it, and good on 'em.

"For him doing it in that way really irked me," said Isner, who's now pulling for Kaepernick's backup in San Francisco. "I'm a big Blaine Gabbert fan now," he said.

Kaepernick has stoked anger with his protest, which he says he plans to continue, with critics calling it disrespectful.

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