Paras Griffin/Getty ImagesSan Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has received a mix of criticism and praise for his controversial decision to kneel during the national anthem at his team’s games this season in protest of the recent spate of police shootings of black people. Now, another Bay Area celebrity, rock legend Carlos Santana, has revealed that he gives Kaepernick his full support.

“I love it,” the guitar great tells Billboard. “I think he stepped up. I salute my brother because it takes a lot of balls to go against people who will say, ‘Oh, you’re not patriotic’ and all that.'”

Santana continues, “You can’t salute a flag that is blind to so many black and brown people being killed without a trial. The beautiful thing about living in America is you have to question authority if it’s not enlightened by God.”

The 69-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer adds, “[T]here’s no equality, fairness and justice until every police [officer] that shoots another person today or tomorrow is accountable…Something needs to change…So for [Kaepernick] to put one knee down and other people are copying him, I think it’s wonderful.”

Santana also draws a connection between Kaepernick’s protest and the peaceful message that he and many of his favorite music artists have included in their work.

“I think musicians and artists should be the spokesmen, with wisdom and gentleness and clarity, about how we can all achieve the highest good for everyone,” he tells Billboard. “What I want is the same thing that John Lennon and Bob Marley wanted — beauty, grace, equality, fairness and justice…So if we can help accelerate and bring it, then it’s our duty to speak out against injustice and against inequality and unfairness.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.