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Yankees players believe Colin Kaepernick’s decision is his right

New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia looks

New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia looks on from the dugout during the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles of an MLB baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The debate over the decision by San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick not to stand for the national anthem entered the Yankees’ clubhouse Monday, though publicly there was little in the way of debate.

The overwhelming opinion of those asked?

The quarterback has every right to express his displeasure, though no one said that would be his avenue of expression.

“It’s his right as a citizen,” CC Sabathia said. “There’s a lot of stuff going on that’s not right . . . it’s a good non-violent way to try and get some change.”

Sabathia said he admired Kaepernick for taking a stand but added later: “I have a brother-in-law that served in Iraq and did a couple of tours. I don’t know if I would want to do something like that, but it’s a non-violent way to show his stance on something.”

Chase Headley said “I commend him (Kaepernick) for taking a stand on something he feels so strongly about,” but, like Sabathia, has military connections in his family so he wouldn’t feel comfortable protesting that way.

“Personally I think the flag represents a lot,” said Headley, whose uncle and grandfather served in the military. “There’s a lot of people who have fought for this country and made a lot of sacrifices for this country. That means something to me . . . that’s probably not the route I would have chosen, but I’m not going to condemn him. I think it’s important for athletes to stand up and speak about things they think are important.”

Joe Girardi said “I’m sure how I would approach it” if one of his players chose the Kaepernick route.

But while saying, “it’s not how I would have chosen to show my displeasure with what’s going on in our country,” he didn’t sound as if he’d try to forbid it.

“You have a freedom to express yourself in this country,” Girardi said. “That’s the beauty of our country.”

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