Billy Vunipola says his Christian faith meant he was uncomfortable with the idea of taking a knee as part of the Premiership’s anti-racism protest.
Vunipola, 27, stood before Saracens’ defeat by Bristol on Saturday, while the majority of his team-mates kneeled.
“Though I am a person of colour, I’m still more a person of Jesus,” he told The Good, The Bad and The Rugby.
“What I saw in terms of that movement was not aligned with what I believe in,” added the England number eight.
Claims that arson attacks on churches were connected to protests in the US have been investigated by police and are unproven.
Premiership teams marked the return of top-flight rugby for the first time since the death of American George Floyd in police custody in May with a variety of displays of support for anti-racism.
Harlequins, Leicester and Wasps knelt in a gesture that has become synonymous with the anti-racism cause and worldwide protests that followed Floyd’s death.
However, other teams opted for different gestures.
Former Harlequins and England wing Ugo Monye, who was involved in discussions over Premiership Rugby’s anti-racism response, last week urged people to be “supportive and respectful” of players’ and teams’ decisions.
“There will be people that take the knee that will get scrutinised and will have negativity whether it’s print media, broadcast media or on social media,” he said.
“There will be people that don’t take the knee that will have the same levelled at them and that’s just not fair.
“I would love everyone across the league to take a knee and be proud to take a knee, but so long as you’re satisfied and clear with the message in your head and you’re doing something or not doing something, in terms of my role within this, there’s nothing more that I can do.”
South Africa Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa has asked the South African Rugby Union for an explanation why several internationals from the world champion Springboks – including Sale pair Faf de Klerk and Lood de Jager – elected not to kneel.