In the 49ers' third preseason game in 2016, Kaepernick sat during the playing of the U. S. national anthem prior to the game, rather than stand as is customary, as a protest against racial injustice and systematic oppression in the country. The following week, and throughout the regular season, Kaepernick kneeled during the anthem. The protests received highly polarized reactions, with some praising him and his stand against racism and others denouncing the protests as disrespectful to the armed forces. The actions resulted in a wider protest movement, which intensified in September 2017 after President Donald Trump said that NFL owners should "fire" players who protest the national anthem. Kaepernick became a free agent after the season, but went unsigned. In November 2017, he filed a grievance against the NFL and its owners, accusing them of colluding to keep him out of the league. Kaepernick withdrew the grievance in February 2019 after reaching a confidential settlement with the NFL.