Colin Kaepernick is Patriotic, American—and Right

Sep 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) looks on against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals won 47-7. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Two years ago, then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem, in protest of the violence against people of color by the police.

And lots of Americans lost their collective minds, unleashing all manner of vitriol and damnation, claiming him a traitor, calling for his firing, and wishing injury and death upon him.

Most striking has been the assertion that Kaepernick’s expression is somehow “Anti-American”.

I’m not sure these folks understand what America is, because it’s exactly that; the freedom to be and feel and do and protest those things one feels burdened to. Whatever the song actually points to and stands for, it’s a heck of a lot more important than you being concerned about someone else’s posture during the singing of the song itself.

America as an ideal isn’t about marching in lock step when you see horrible stuff happening.

It isn’t about shutting up in the face of injustice.

It isn’t about playing nice to appease those uncomfortable with your position.

It’s not about towing some subjective party line that supposedly illustrates your national pride.

It’s not about ignoring people dying, but getting worked up over a football pre game ceremony.

It’s not about some two-minute decorative moment of showy, costless patriotism.

America as an ideal, (the one from the Anthem) is about speaking boldly and demanding justice and giving voice to the voiceless, because that’s the way you respect the freedom. That is how you show gratitude for the gift. That is how you honor those who died to give you that freedom.

I’ve seen people make some ridiculous comparison of fallen soldiers with Kaepernick, as if they’re at all the same. One chose to serve in their country’s military, and the other chose to speak into perceived injustice in the country that solider fought to defend. One is a solider sacrificing for America, the other an athlete making a statement about black lives mattering in America.

This isn’t a “hero contest”. These aren’t opposing ideas. They’re lyrics to the same song.

Kaepernick is a person of color. I’ll let you determine what that has to do with the level of outrage here by white Americans (and this white, American President). All I’ll say is that the folks calling for Kaepernick’s head are like the same ones who gave Olympian Ryan Lochte a little pat on the head and a chuckling “Boys will be boys”, when he broke into and vandalized a Brazil gas station bathroom, and filed a fake robbery report before lying to the worldwide media and fleeing the country.

The double standard is notable and disturbing, and all the more reason the quarterback was right to make the statement he felt compelled to make, because of what the response to it reveals about us.

The sick feeling I get in the pit of my stomach seeing this anger, is that to some people black lives don’t matter—but their red, white, and blue songs do.

Don’t miss the heart of this: This isn’t about whether or not you like Kaepernick’s gesture or timing or methods. It’s about whether or not it’s American. It absolutely is. You’re perfectly free to not like it. That isn’t the question. It is freedom in its purest form.

Colin Kaepernick protesting during the anthem isn’t anti-American; it’s affirming the very freedom America represents and giving us a real-time example of how you leverage your influence to change things for the better. In an age where pro athletes are seen as petulant, aloof, selfish babies, he chose to use his visibility and his platform to actually give a damn and to speak into something far more important than games. Crucifying him for this is missing the point of this country spectacularly. It’s also an alarm going off that your privilege might be showing.

People who vilify Colin Kaepernick for this don’t really aren’t concerned about America. They aren’t concerned about police brutality against people of color. They really don’t care about “respecting the Anthem” either (whatever that means.)

They really want him to behave himself and play along and say nothing and dance for them.

I’m glad he chose to speak his heart and his conscience, and to sit down when they told him to stand. 

In the ways and times and manners we feel called to do the same, it’s what the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave means.

That’s a gesture worth singing about.

(This piece was originally published in August of 2016. As of today, Kaepernick still does not have a job with an NFL team, while the President of the United States recently advocated for police brutality. Patriotism isn’t really the issue here, nor is  respecting the flag, the Constitution, or America.)

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118 thoughts on “Colin Kaepernick is Patriotic, American—and Right

  1. Another nail hit smack on the head. This country was founded on a protest movement and not as peaceful as Kaepernick’s protest.

    I’ve just read in the news that cops in Muskogee, OK chased a black man for failing to stop at a stop sign, followed him into his home where they pepper sprayed his 89-year-old mother.

    Were I black, I’d be terrified I might be shot or worse by police. I have to ask, what are the police academies teaching the recurits?

    #BlackLivesMatter

    Oh, and about saluting the flag, where was the twitterstorm, where all the conservatives with their outrage when Trump failed to salute the flag before one of the debates?

      • Oh, really? That worked out so well for so many who were not running from the police and yet were still murdered. How about the 89 year old woman who just got pepper sprayed by the cops?

        • You notice this person is a coward?

          “Don’t run from Police” – Anonymous White Person

          Tell that to Philando Castile who was sitting in a parked car and complying with orders. Or Tamir Rice who was a 12 years old and shot dead less than 5 seconds after police nearly ran him down in a park. Or John Crawford who was killed because a lying racist snot smear called police to tell them he was pointing a BB-gun at people in a Walmart.

          • Aaron Sterling wasn’t running from the police either. Nor was Sandra Blan who died in mysterious circumstances in jail.

            If one isn’t part of the solution, one is part of the problem.

            Anyone who doesn’t believe #BlackLivesMatter is part of the problem.

            • I have to comment after obviously “rainbow driven” Gloria Marie and “frothing”John Pavlov ( etc) both seem to have it all boiled down to a simple wrong or right regardless of what happened with ALL of the people shot by policemen and all the policemen executed regardless of race, sex, age, parents, children circumstances , not to mention the extremely left media waiting to join them on the same BS soap box that I unfortunately read and would like to have my time back after reading, and even worse taking the time to address this whatever lives matter!! It’s time the other 80-odd percent of our country put this silliness to rest and put common sense back into our country! This is like the Global Warming theory that made one of the most obtuse and ignorant person we all “know” ( even though he forgot what city was in during the campaign) rich beyond his wildest dreams by simply gaining a foothold of interest from anyone who will drive the cause.. see The Nobel Laureate Al Gore and his nutty professors, or let’s use the word loosely, climatologists. If Al is so worried about Americans’ and their health, including Global Warming , please explain his getting so emotional at his DNC speech regarding his sister’s death from Lung cancer? I sympathize with almost live one that cannot be replaced, but does anyone know where brilliant Al made his money … through major league tobacco farming!?! If a minority regardless of sex, race, orientation, religious affiliation can and will get the attention of the media like Al that now is simply tabloid journalism, anyone is off to the races with their cause, but first they need deaths in the streets to spark it, and it simply has to be questionable to cause riots. Then here comes multimillionaire Colin and all his convicted ( some in the process and others to soon come.. bad taste) buddies turn it into purely a Black lives Matter issue , and that’s it!!! We all know there are two sides to an argument and terrible injustices occur to civilians of all races, not just black, and yes policemen are not convicted unless proven without a doubt they are guilty. That is why we have juries, and grand ones at that. I’m not justifying killing on either side ; race versus race, or police versus civilian. Our country has been out on its head and is split down the middle because 15% of the country they feel they have all been targeted, whether black or Hispanic. I get their anger and it has been drawn out for as long as what????? Eye for an eye?!?! That assumes we are all out to get one another. That is not America OR WHAT OUR FLAG, CONSTITUTION , OUR COMMUNITIES, OUR MILITARY, OR WHAT WE AS CITIZENS STAND!! STOPPING THE DIVISIVENESS STARTS WHEN COMIN AND ALL RESUME THEIR AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE WITHOUT LOOKING FOR A FIGHT!! IT WILL NEVER END AND THEN WR HAVE A SPKIT MILITARY.. NOW WE ARE WEAK TO THE WORLD. LOOK HOW BOLD RUSSIA and CHINA ARE TO US!! CHINA HAS BEEM AMASSING GOLD TO BACK TBEIR CURRENCY BEFORE WE WENT OFF THE DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR STANDARD I believe with Truman’s
              Adminduring and acted ww2; Roosevelt may have actually started. My point is guys and girls. We have got to put down one or two incidents that are awful but should not be allowed to ruin, or divide as it has our country to date. Folks, we are the best country of the worst given the condition in which world currently exists. Let’s quit finding so much agreement with the liberal prime time media including fox and get back to as Paul Harvey used to say, ” And that’s the rest if the story “, paraphrased of course. Not hate mail returns needed as we are all citizens ruled by a congress that couldn’t pass had more or less effective legislation for our once and soon to be great again country!

          • Don’t even respond to that idiot person who obviously gets exactly what’s being said but chose to be an ass because they don’t care about the injustices of black ppl … they are angry because for the first timer in America the roses have changed, it has shifted and white ppl because of social media are face with their realities because it’s being put out there for all to see! Let them cry and holler, let them be angry! Dint wage your breath telling them what they obviously already know but choose to act like asses about!

            • Don’t even respond to that idiot person who obviously gets exactly what’s being said but chose to be an ass because they don’t care about the injustices of black ppl … they are angry because for the first time in America the realities have changed, it has shifted and white ppl because of social media are face with their realities of injystices and racial tendencies because it’s being put out there for all to see! So let them cry and holler, and scream, let them be angry! Don’t waste your breath telling them what they obviously already know and understand, but choose to willfully ignite act like asses about, because they feelings are hurt!

    • Your good at hash tagging BLM terrorist movement but you aren’t out there doing anything positive about the black on black murder rate which if BLM mattered you would be. Nobody should be murdered.

      • #1) I have the courage to post under my own name while you cower as “anonymous.”

        #2) As you are 100% ignorant about how I spend my time, you make a fool of yourself with your assumptions.

        #3) No, no one should ever be murdered. But the police, I was taught as a child, were supposed to be our role models. But since some of them seem intent on genocide, we have to inist that #BlackLivesMatter.

        • There are more whites murdered by police than blacks, where is your outrage on that, black lives are no more important than any one else so #blacklivesmatter is nothing but bullshit. When they stop killing themselves maybe then it will mean something.

          • Whites are nearly three times the population of blacks. All things being equal, they SHOULD be getting killed more than blacks. (Not that anyone should be getting killed at all.) If you have a population of 200 people, and 15 whites are shot, and 10 blacks, that seems good at first. Until you realize that of that 200, 150 are white and 50 are black. Which means 10% of whites were shot, while 20% of blacks were. That’s what’s happening here. #mathishard

            • Except that’s not what’s happening. Blacks aren’t killed by police at a higher rate than whites. Peppered sprayed? Yep. Handcuffed? Yep. Shot? Killed? Nope. Blacks killed by cops certainly make the news more, but statistically it doesn’t happen at a rate disproportionate to their percentage of the population. Math really isn’t that hard.

              http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/12/upshot/surprising-new-evidence-shows-bias-in-police-use-of-force-but-not-in-shootings.html

              • Please read:
                Aren’t more white people than black people killed by police? Yes, but no.

                In 2015, The Washington Post launched a real-time database to track fatal police shootings, and the project continues this year. As of Sunday, 1,502 people have been shot and killed by on-duty police officers since Jan. 1, 2015. Of them, 732 were white, and 381 were black (and 382 were of another or unknown race).

                But as data scientists and policing experts often note, comparing how many or how often white people are killed by police to how many or how often black people are killed by the police is statistically dubious unless you first adjust for population.

                According to the most recent census data, there are nearly 160 million more white people in America than there are black people. White people make up roughly 62 percent of the U.S. population but only about 49 percent of those who are killed by police officers. African Americans, however, account for 24 percent of those fatally shot and killed by the police despite being just 13 percent of the U.S. population. As The Post noted in a new analysis published last week, that means black Americans are 2.5 times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by police officers.

                U.S. police officers have shot and killed the exact same number of unarmed white people as they have unarmed black people: 50 each. But because the white population is approximately five times larger than the black population, that means unarmed black Americans were five times as likely as unarmed white Americans to be shot and killed by a police officer.

                https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/07/11/arent-more-white-people-than-black-people-killed-by-police-yes-but-no/?utm_term=.1d0079c68a41

              • You know exactly what’s being said about black ppl being killed by police ate true, you understand the statistics but because the times have changed and social media has allowed the dispicable things that are being done to black ppl on a daily basis are being seen by all just does that you dont care what injustices black ppl face every day, you don’t care about the plight or making things better! For the first time white ppl have to deal with what they have been doing for years, because you don’t want to have the reality of America, “white America” you choose to deliberately ignore the facts, but you know what I’m not going to wage my time giving you a logical expansion why your statements is obviously flawed, because I know the reason BEHIND your statement! So who cats if your feelings are hurt because you have to deal with the fact and choose to pretend other wise! Be angry be hurt, I wok just sit back Lauren and laughand enjoy the show!

          • Still being a coward I see by hiding your name.

            People who rely on scatological language rarely have an informed point to make. As usual you are wrong.

            Please read this and become informed:

            Aren’t more white people than black people killed by police? Yes, but no.

            Dylan Noble died on the last Saturday of June.

            Police in Fresno, Calif., received a report of a man walking a downtown street with a rifle, but when they arrived, they instead found Noble speeding by in his pickup truck.

            When they tried to pull him over, the 19-year-old led police to a nearby gas station and then exited his car.

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            “The driver then turned towards officers with one hand concealed behind his back, and told officers he hated his life,” the Fresno police department said in a statement. “As he continued to advance towards officers, an officer-involved shooting occurred.”

            The department framed it as a “suicide by cop.” His family insisted that could not be the case, urged federal officials to investigate and demanded that video from the body cameras worn by both officers involved be released.

            “I am outraged that the police would shoot my son and say that it is his fault,” Veronica Nelson, Noble’s mother, told reporters at a news conference not long after the shooting. “So please join me as I’m demanding justice for Dylan.”

            Noble’s friends and family gathered for days at the gas station parking lot where he was killed — some waving Confederate flags and others chanting, “White lives matter.”

            And soon, they were angry at their inability to garner more attention. At a time when dozens of police killings have prompted outrage, why hadn’t this one? Was it because Noble was white?

            But as data scientists and policing experts often note, comparing how many or how often white people are killed by police to how many or how often black people are killed by the police is statistically dubious unless you first adjust for population.

            According to the most recent census data, there are nearly 160 million more white people in America than there are black people. White people make up roughly 62 percent of the U.S. population but only about 49 percent of those who are killed by police officers. African Americans, however, account for 24 percent of those fatally shot and killed by the police despite being just 13 percent of the U.S. population. As The Post noted in a new analysis published last week, that means black Americans are 2.5 times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by police officers.

            U.S. police officers have shot and killed the exact same number of unarmed white people as they have unarmed black people: 50 each. But because the white population is approximately five times larger than the black population, that means unarmed black Americans were five times as likely as unarmed white Americans to be shot and killed by a police officer.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/07/11/arent-more-white-people-than-black-people-killed-by-police-yes-but-no/?utm_term=.1d0079c68a41

            • You can’t separate the number of blacks killed by police from the number of blacks who commit crimes. Black males comprise about 7% of the population, but commit roughly half the homicides. It’s logical that a segment of the population that commits homicide at about seven times the rate that should be expected given the percentage of the population they represent as a whole, they will in turn have more violent encounters with the police than other demographic groups. The Harvard study took all that into account, and found there was no bias in fatal police shootings. That appears not to fit your world view, but it doesn’t make it untrue. Harvard isn’t exactly a bastion of right wing racism. It’s not like the study was done by breitbart.com, or the Trump campaign.

              The unfortunate truth is that black lives don’t matter unless they are lost at the hands of a while person, and as such can be exploited politically. Everyone knows who Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin because they were killed by white guys (or in Martin’s case, someone we pretended was white). How many people have heard of Tyshawn Lee, the nine year old black kid that was killed to avenge something he father had done as part of a gang? Almost no one, cause he wasn’t killed by a white guy. We hear all about “the talk” that black parents have with their sons about the police, but largely ignore the fact that the same young man is eight times more likely to be killed by another young black man than he is by a police officer. The problem will never be solved externally. There is a noticeable lack of respect for human life in America’s inner cities. Young men are gunned down every day because of some imagined slight or disrespect. I have no idea how to fix it, but ignoring the data and trotting out a hashtag is never going to get it done.

                • Not relevant? Did you not make multiple comments regarding Black Lives Matter? We’re they all irrelevant as well?

                  Here are the statistics straight from the United States Department of Justice. For 30 years blacks, who make up roughly twelve percent of the population, have committed 52 percent of the homicides. Numbers are not racist. They are historical fact.

                  http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/htus8008.pdf

                  Not sure what you were trying to prove with your link. It shows that of 5621 murders in 2013 where the race of the assailant is known, 2698 were committed by blacks. That equates to 48%, or “roughly half” which is what I said. Thank you for providing the documentation that proved my point.

                  • You really are the kind of person who likes to badger people until they agree with you, arent’ you. There’s a word for that: bully.

                    • The term is debating. I find it amazing that you (and most of Mr. Pavlovitz’ followers) and I live in the same country and yet apparently don’t occupy the same reality. My life experience tells me your view of the world is inaccurate. You undoubtedly feel the same way about me and anyone else who shares my beliefs.

                      It’s facinating to me to see how people react when confronted with information that is both true, and in direct contravention with what they adamantly believe. If struggling to defend your positions with equally valid data frustrates you, that’s not on me.

                  • Lol Burton if you wanna come up with stats i can too.According to a study done by the FBI in 2013, whites led blacks in aggravated assault, forcible rape, and led ALL ethnic groups in larceny theft 2-1.Theirs also more likely to kill children, the elderly, family members, and fellow coworkers. White women also commit 36% of white on white murders, which is higher than female black murders, again courtesy of the FBI. Now according to the Bureau of justice statistics, from 1980 to 2008, 28 YEARS, 53 percent of gang murders were committed by white offenders, while 56 percent of the victims were………. guess what? white.

                  • Lol Burton if you wanna come up with stats i can too.According to a study done by the FBI in 2013, whites led blacks in aggravated assault, forcible rape, and led ALL ethnic groups in larceny theft 2-1.Theirs also more likely to kill children, the elderly, family members, and fellow coworkers. White women also commit 36% of white on white murders, which is higher than female black murders, again courtesy of the FBI. Now according to the Bureau of justice statistics, from 1980 to 2008, 28 YEARS, 53 percent of gang murders were committed by white offenders, while 56 percent of the victims were………. guess what? white.

      • Spot on. They fail to accept that cops kill less black than white people. Less blacks die from being murdered by white. So I’m not sure what they want. Black racism runs rampant and they think an 80 year old getting pepper sprayed happened for nothing? Yeah Michael Brown was a saint right? Get a life, get a job and dignity. Stop feeling sorry for yourselves and raise your kids right and with some respect and you’ll be just fine. But that’ll never happen with a piece of poop as a president.

      • Dogwhistles are not an effective argument. Whites kill more whites, Hispanics kill more hispanics, Asians kill more asians, etc. But unarmed black men and women being targeted and often beaten or killed for offenses where whites are given a pass, is a real issue. No one who considers themselves a decent human being should be ok with this. It’s not ok, it is positively criminal.

      • What are you doing about the White on white murder rate? Statistically speaking, most murders are relational.

      • #1) People who post anonymously are cowards attempting to be bullies.

        #2) People who call other people names are people with nothing intelligent to say.

        #3) We salute the flag every time we put our right hand over our hearts as we pledge allegiance. You should have learned that in the first grade.

        • GloriaMarie- you got sucked into their “moving the goalposts.” They changed the topic. “But what about black on black crime…” etc. None of these arguments have anything to do with the issue. The issue that they are refusing to accept is racial profiling by police and the problem of police violence against blacks is real, unjust, and an ugly extension of the problem with racism in our country.

    • Wow, what drivel. Nice attempt to create a narrative by connecting unrelated groups of people and asserting motivations. So cool you can read minds and ignore reality.

      It would be helpful if you could at least do a search to determine the easy stuff. Even the left-leanings Snopes declared the Trump-doesn’t-salute was a total falsehood.

      Good grief.

    • I’m sorry, but no, ALL LIVES MATTER.
      Civilians don’t salute the flag, sorry. Military, yes. And since “Hands up don’t shoot” was really “Fight a police officer for his gun through the window of his car, then charge at him head down like a bull”, let’s get a little bit of a grip.
      Does Colin Kaepernick have the right to kneel during the national anthem? Sure. The company that he works for also has the right to fire him for it, and the general public have a right to dislike him for disrespecting the flag and the national anthem.

  2. …especially when one reads the last part of the third verse of The Star Spangled Banner:

    No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

  3. While I totally agree that part of being American is the freedom to protest, I think it’s unfair to equate all people who were upset by this particular form of protest as the same ones who think Ryan Lochte is just “a boy being a boy,” despite the fact that he was a grown man behaving reprehensibly.

    When it comes to protesting in conjunction with the flag and the anthem, it’s important to remember there are many people—including people of color—who have special, meaningful emotions and experiences connected to the anthem and the flag. I’m thinking specifically of those who’ve served in the military. Note: It’s NOT the same as people saying the Confederate flag had special meaning.

    The American flag and anthem point to the aspirations of the nation. America is certainly not living up to our ideals—we never have—but it’s equally important to recognize that outrage over protests against the anthem and the flag is not completely rooted in racism.

    Racism exists, it is extensive and insidious. We should also be gracious to people for whom the flag and the anthem signify profound and meaningful sacrifice.

    • The land of the free and the home of the brave did not include people of color. Read the history of the writing of this song and the fact that there was another verse that specifically addressed slavery.

    • First of all, your comments are thoughtful and well said. I do not believe that the vast majority of people upset over Mr. Kaepernick’s protest are upset because he is a person of color. Just as Mr. Kaepernick has the right to speak the truth as he sees it, the people who disagree have the right to disagree. I’ve seen a lot of backlash on social media but honestly haven’t read anyone calling for his injury or death. Of course there are some really hateful things said on social media so I’m not denying anyone has said these things but I’m sure it’s a small percentage. And I don’t see how this relates to the Ryan Lochte story. Lochte behaved horribly and has had all endorsements cancelled. I’ve seen nothing but disgust and outrage over his behavior.

      • If you didn’t see anything but disgust for his behavior then you haven’t been reading all comments, Nevada ice seen many white ppl justifying or trying to justify what he did! But then again why tell you when you obviously just pretend not to know!

  4. Erin wrote”While I totally agree that part of being American is the freedom to protest, I think it’s unfair to equate all people who were upset by this particular form of protest as the same ones who think Ryan Lochte is just “a boy being a boy,” despite the fact that he was a grown man behaving reprehensibly.”

    I think the point is that because Ryan is white, he has gotten away with it with no outrage at all from the people who are outraged by Kaepernick’s protest. I think the point is that if someone is going to be outraged by Kaepernick then one also has to be outraged by Lochte.

    It has nothing to do with disrespecting the flag and/or the Anthem. I daresay the only people who turn into an issue of disrespect are people who don’t care if the cops murder our black citizens.

    #BlackLivesMatter

    • I think Ryan Lochte is a turd who should be banned from swimming. I think Kaep has the right to protest by not standing. I think we need to recognize that some people will be upset by protests that dishonor the flag and the anthem because of their service to the country. I think we shouldn’t automatically lump those people in with racists. I think black lives matter.

      People are more nuanced than this particular post implied.

      • After receiving a barrage of questions about Colin Kaepernick, a veteran responds loud and clear

        Jim Wright is an Iraqi war veteran. He has a blog called StoneKettle Station. He’s also active on his Facebook account where he posted a long piece about the Colin Kaepernick statements concerning his refusal to stand during the playing of the National Anthem at football games. Wright explained that he had taken a day away from the internet and when he came back his inbox was filled with people asking him what his feelings were, being a veteran. So, as a veteran, he decided to answer.

        The very first thing I learned in the military is this: Respect is a two-way street. If you want respect, true respect, sincere respect, then you have to GIVE IT.
        Wright explains that the concept of respect is an earned commodity. If you want someone to have it, they need to feel it themselves and give it willingly. He explains that forcing and trying to threaten Kaepernick into “respecting” the flag is an illusion and an unsatisfactory one at that. He very articulately explains to those who clearly do not understand, that the United States is a construct, not an individual with hurt feelings. Finally, he drops the mic.

        SIGN THE PETITION
        SIGN THIS: I stand with Colin Kaepernick’s right to sit down
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        Sign the Petition
        To you the National Anthem means one thing, to Kaepernick it means something else. We are all shaped and defined by our experiences and we see the world through our own eyes. That’s freedom. That’s liberty. The right to believe differently. The right to protest as you will. The right to demand better. The right to believe your country can BE better, that it can live up to its sacred ideals, and the right to loudly note that it has NOT. The right to use your voice, your actions, to bring attention to the things you believe in. The right to want more for others, freedom, liberty, justice, equality, and RESPECT.

        A true veteran might not agree with Colin Kaepernick, but a true veteran would fight to the death to protect his right to say what he believes.

        You don’t like what Kaepernick has to say? Then prove him wrong, BE the nation he can respect.

        It’s really just that simple.
        It really is just that simple.

        http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/8/29/1564977/-After-receiving-a-barrage-of-questions-about-Colin-Kaepernick-a-veteran-responds-loud-and-clear?detail=email&link_id=3&can_id=aac248234d067d672dba041bb62601e0&source=email-bette-midler-trumps-donalds-criticism-of-the-clinton-foundationand-its-divinely-hilarious&email_referrer=bette-midler-trumps-donalds-criticism-of-the-clinton-foundationand-its-divinely-hilarious&email_subject=bette-midler-trumps-donalds-criticism-of-the-clinton-foundation-and-its-divinely-hilarious

  5. Cheap exhibitionism. If he was really concerned, he could use his considerable financial resources to do something about it. He is absolutely free to insult his fellow countrymen and their wish to honor the symbol of their country without any cost to himself…what a coward.

    • You know what? It’s an unsinkable, aggressive, ill-fitting song for a National Anthem — and there are many ways to honor a country – like, for people of color, actually staying in it, given the statistics of murders in South Chicago this year — do you know them?

      This is a wonderful but hypocritical country – this morning I read about Sioux “First Nation” people in North Dakota and PCUSA Presbyterians who are supporting them, about 4000 First Nation people coming from all over the US – to hold “Prayer Camps” and protest against a Pipeway being built across their land . . . which will contaminate their water — the article noted that the decrees by “Christian/religious churches and countries” to come to America and “convert the savages” — which brought them illness, plagues, separated and destroyed their families . . etc. – was still standing as late as 1920 (I believe that was the date) — unbelievable – most of us never were taught about this, it was mostly covered up, denied — so our ancestors committed genocide . . were the oppressors . . . and our government still is . . . (and Mr. Trump should rightly send us all back “to where we came from” ?!!!). That’s pretty big stuff compared to a guy, influential or just an ordinary kid, sitting out the National Anthem, for whatever reason. There are times when you just need to make a statement – enact what you believe strongly – not because its the best way to make your point, but because it’s what’s at hand, and the time is right for you. Sometimes you do what’s right in order to live with yourself “doing what’s right” today, or because it’s a turning point for you, etc. Good for him. Good for him.

    • Do you know he hasn’t? Have detailed knowledge of his philanthropic efforts, do you? Stop trying to make this about what he DID so THAT you can avoid talking about what he SAID.

    • If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

      At no cost to himself? Your comments cost him.

      Not only that, your comments indicate a lack of understanding of the Freedom of Speech.

      After receiving a barrage of questions about Colin Kaepernick, a veteran responds loud and clear

      Jim Wright is an Iraqi war veteran. He has a blog called StoneKettle Station. He’s also active on his Facebook account where he posted a long piece about the Colin Kaepernick statements concerning his refusal to stand during the playing of the National Anthem at football games. Wright explained that he had taken a day away from the internet and when he came back his inbox was filled with people asking him what his feelings were, being a veteran. So, as a veteran, he decided to answer.

      The very first thing I learned in the military is this: Respect is a two-way street. If you want respect, true respect, sincere respect, then you have to GIVE IT.
      Wright explains that the concept of respect is an earned commodity. If you want someone to have it, they need to feel it themselves and give it willingly. He explains that forcing and trying to threaten Kaepernick into “respecting” the flag is an illusion and an unsatisfactory one at that. He very articulately explains to those who clearly do not understand, that the United States is a construct, not an individual with hurt feelings. Finally, he drops the mic.

      To you the National Anthem means one thing, to Kaepernick it means something else. We are all shaped and defined by our experiences and we see the world through our own eyes. That’s freedom. That’s liberty. The right to believe differently. The right to protest as you will. The right to demand better. The right to believe your country can BE better, that it can live up to its sacred ideals, and the right to loudly note that it has NOT. The right to use your voice, your actions, to bring attention to the things you believe in. The right to want more for others, freedom, liberty, justice, equality, and RESPECT.

      A true veteran might not agree with Colin Kaepernick, but a true veteran would fight to the death to protect his right to say what he believes.

      You don’t like what Kaepernick has to say? Then prove him wrong, BE the nation he can respect.

      It’s really just that simple.
      It really is just that simple.

      http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/8/29/1564977/-After-receiving-a-barrage-of-questions-about-Colin-Kaepernick-a-veteran-responds-loud-and-clear?detail=email&link_id=3&can_id=aac248234d067d672dba041bb62601e0&source=email-bette-midler-trumps-donalds-criticism-of-the-clinton-foundationand-its-divinely-hilarious&email_referrer=bette-midler-trumps-donalds-criticism-of-the-clinton-foundationand-its-divinely-hilarious&email_subject=bette-midler-trumps-donalds-criticism-of-the-clinton-foundation-and-its-divinely-hilarious

    • Are you telepathic? Do you have access to his tax returns?

      You have zero idea what he does with his money.

      The issue is NOT his action, the issue is the problem that too many black lives have been lost because of cops.

      If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.

      #BlackLives Matter

    • Hahahahaha! Comical! I guess he hurt your feelings! Never thought he world use his forum to expose the true America! The true anthem that was written excluding ppl of color!
      Be angry … I will sit back and laugh!

  6. You miss the point, as usual. Of course it is right to stand against injustice. But, for all his protesting, although he is a man of color, he is RICH. Living in the country he is blasting has made him rich. Sort of like Hillary in a $15,000 jacket pleading for income equality.

    His act was childish and did nothing to right wrongs. It just makes him look like an ass. See something as unjust? Do something about it. Tim Tebow does. Take some of your millions an start a foundation for helping low income youth.

    He is in a position of privilege and people watch him. He did a childish thing to protest something he is doing nothing to rectify. You can lead by example, good or bad. His heart is small so he did a childish thing. If it were big, he would have done a constructive thing. Then he would have been a hero and not just a rich baby.

    • Do something about it?

      You mean like making a courageous act that got him a lot of heat, raising more awareness in a single moment than his few million dollars could have possibly achieved? Using his publicity for what he believes is good?

      What the hell is it that you would have him do?

      I suspect that you have no answer, because you don’t see the problem. I suspect that you don’t see the problem because you are white.

    • Red herrings, John, every single one of them.

      This country needs a deep and intense discussion about bigotry and racism. His action was a peaceful way to attract attention to the ***real*** issue.

      Something has to be done about racists cops and that’s the bottom line. That’s the only issue to be discussed as a result of his actions.

      #BlackLivesMatter

      One whose heart is embittered can do nothing but contend and contradict, finding something to oppose in every remark. – Venerable Julienne Morel

  7. You defend Kaep because of his protest yet you do not support others protesting against him. Nice bullshit writing.

    • We defend Kap because he’s protesting actual injustice that’s gone on for generations. When refusing to stand for the national anthem results in thousands of people being killed by our government, we’ll get around to supporting the people protesting him. Until then, we’ll call it what it is – a desperate attempt to smear the messenger because you don’t like the message.

  8. While I agree that the “…Merika, love it or leave it” vitriol has gotten a bit crazy, there is another aspect that is completely missed in this newest social media controversy.

    A friend of mine observed, “You cannot create respect (for yourself or your cause) through the practice of disrespect.” Young Mr. Kaepernick showed a deep lack of critical thinking and lack of maturity in choosing this expression for his outrage.

    • So, the people that perpetrated that stupid so-called “Boston Tea Party” were just engaging in a juvenile exercise in egotism and didn’t create any “respect for [themselves] or [their] cause”, huh? Yeah, I guess Kaepernick should have just stood up and sung, like a “good little pickaninny” would.

    • you’re friend should be reminded that not everyone considers it a show of respect to stand for an anthem. Respect is social and cultural, and we don’t all share the same versions of it.

    • Once again, a gang of white men telling a black man how to be outraged, and what sorts of protests are acceptable to the white population at large.

      The hubris is stunning.

    • After receiving a barrage of questions about Colin Kaepernick, a veteran responds loud and clear

      Jim Wright is an Iraqi war veteran. He has a blog called StoneKettle Station. He’s also active on his Facebook account where he posted a long piece about the Colin Kaepernick statements concerning his refusal to stand during the playing of the National Anthem at football games. Wright explained that he had taken a day away from the internet and when he came back his inbox was filled with people asking him what his feelings were, being a veteran. So, as a veteran, he decided to answer.

      The very first thing I learned in the military is this: Respect is a two-way street. If you want respect, true respect, sincere respect, then you have to GIVE IT.
      Wright explains that the concept of respect is an earned commodity. If you want someone to have it, they need to feel it themselves and give it willingly. He explains that forcing and trying to threaten Kaepernick into “respecting” the flag is an illusion and an unsatisfactory one at that. He very articulately explains to those who clearly do not understand, that the United States is a construct, not an individual with hurt feelings. Finally, he drops the mic.

      SIGN THE PETITION
      SIGN THIS: I stand with Colin Kaepernick’s right to sit down
      Welcome back, Gloriamarie!
      Not Gloriamarie? Click here.
      By signing this petition you will receive periodic updates on offers and activism opportunities from Daily Kos. You may unsubscribe at any time. Here’s our privacy policy.

      Sign the Petition
      To you the National Anthem means one thing, to Kaepernick it means something else. We are all shaped and defined by our experiences and we see the world through our own eyes. That’s freedom. That’s liberty. The right to believe differently. The right to protest as you will. The right to demand better. The right to believe your country can BE better, that it can live up to its sacred ideals, and the right to loudly note that it has NOT. The right to use your voice, your actions, to bring attention to the things you believe in. The right to want more for others, freedom, liberty, justice, equality, and RESPECT.

      A true veteran might not agree with Colin Kaepernick, but a true veteran would fight to the death to protect his right to say what he believes.

      You don’t like what Kaepernick has to say? Then prove him wrong, BE the nation he can respect.

      It’s really just that simple.

      It really is just that simple.

      http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/8/29/1564977/-After-receiving-a-barrage-of-questions-about-Colin-Kaepernick-a-veteran-responds-loud-and-clear?detail=email&link_id=3&can_id=aac248234d067d672dba041bb62601e0&source=email-bette-midler-trumps-donalds-criticism-of-the-clinton-foundationand-its-divinely-hilarious&email_referrer=bette-midler-trumps-donalds-criticism-of-the-clinton-foundationand-its-divinely-hilarious&email_subject=bette-midler-trumps-donalds-criticism-of-the-clinton-foundation-and-its-divinely-hilarious

  9. He doesnt care about all of the “injustice” either, only about himself. He knew it would get people to talk about him and bring attention to him! Thats whats so funny, you really think he cares about all that. You played right in to his plan. Any and all protests are about the protester not the cause.

  10. I agree America was established in protest of oppression and with this man’s right to express his own protest. He knew it would be visible and he used what platform he has to express himself. It doesn’t really matter what we think of it because he didn’t physically hurt anyone and it is his and our right either way. I think, however, he said something to the effect that the “country that oppresses people of color,” or something like that because police officers are government workers (my words). I could be wrong but it is only how I remember it now. I do wish, if those were close to the words he used, that he and others would carefully express themselves in that it isn’t a country who oppresses people of color but individual people who do. My guess is that no matter one’s color, one may have a feeling of oppression when dealing with the police in some instances. Not to make light of serious injustices that clearly do occur. I’m also sure it isn’t just people of color with those experiences. Is there a better way to protest the actions of some individuals rather than bring insult to a sacred symbol such as the National Anthem, which, by the way, is far far more than just a song? Perhaps. In my view, this particular protest is a slap in the face of every soul who stood that thin line and fell and those who stand it now. Those who have never oppressed another soul in their entire lives serving this country or as a citizen have earned that respect and this was more an act of disrespect than a protest to me. Why not just tweet his protest or use social media and potentially reach more people? I may not like a particular president but I respect the office, the institution, of the Presidency and I would never disparage the person. Likewise, I would never disparage one of the great symbols of our nation, of which I am a part and benefactor of its freedoms and protection, or those who have defended it or participated in its emancipation in order to protest the actions of some stupid, evil people. I appreciate him speaking out, since the protest, about what he has seen and for those who don’t have the same visibility he does. I would hope he would speak out for all people who have been oppressed, rather than just people of color because they are not alone. Until he and others choose to open their comments beyond their own ethnic or other group, the audience won’t grow as fast, except for the audience that feels disrespected by his actions. We should all speak out against oppression and we should do it with respect to to all.

    • We have a nice Jewish lady—very old—here in our town who survived as a prisoner in Auschwitz during World War II. She sometimes goes to local schools to give accounts of what it was like living as a very young person in a living Hell. I have heard that the accounts end with—“and you gentiles must see to it that this never happens TO US again.” I really wish that message was: “We all must make sure this never happens to any group of people again.”

  11. It’s not mandatory. Just respectful .

    If all injustice has to be rectified before anyone stood or saluted the National Anthem, or said the Pledge of Allegiance –then obviously, no one would ever do it.

    Honoring American IDEALISM – for a fleeting moment, is not a bad place to be at a sporting event.

    Gabby Douglas inadvertently failed to put her hand on her heart.

    Colin Kaepernick just stole the show. [But not in a good way.]

      • –charles, there is no bible scripture that relates to this issue. [Except maybe, respect for civil authority, because God places it over us. ]

    • “If all injustice has to be rectified before anyone stood or saluted the National Anthem, or said the Pledge of Allegiance –then obviously, no one would ever do it.”

      Which is exactly why no one SHOULD do it.

      “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.”
      – Albert Einstein

      • Dean: NFL football is the epitome of nationalistic practices (Go Team! Fight! Win!).

        [I guess you would have the teams get rid of their matching jersey’s & interchange them with their opponents, so no one could tell which team won?]

        • Football is a game, and teams aren’t nations.

          Fanatics may not realize this, but regular people sure do.

  12. He has the right to do what he did. People who don’t agree with him have the right to say so. They also have the right to refuse to pay to watch a game the he is playing in, or not watch a game on TV. Money comes from ratings, and lower ratings mean less money. They also have the right to not patronize any product that he might advertise or have his name attached to it. That’s America, and that’s freedom. It’s boils down to economics. We’ll see were it goes from here. I think he sold himself and his country down the river.

  13. Not so sure about this one. Colin ‘ s comments don’t bother me in the least. But they are a turn off to many . A strategic failure that back-fired. Many well-intentioned Christians have the same effect of turning folks off to the faith. There really is such a thing as the choosing the right strategy , not fighting the wrong battles, not saying words that cancel out your good cause . Which CK may have just done this week.

  14. Thanks John for putting framework around this subject! Of course you are correct, that America has always been about freedom to think and act as we are led by our innermost calling.

  15. Three points:

    1) I live DOWN SOUTH and understand all of this. The outrage at Kaep. was to be expected. First of all, he is part African-American like Obama, and he is really smart (H.S. Senior GPA 4.0) like Obama. He was being an uppity n-word, like Obama, and Trumpist white America hates him for all three of these things. He was expected to sit still, act dumb and be indifferent, and do nothing just like African-Americans are expected to stand still, act dumb, be indifferent, and get shot by dirty cops.

    2) My dead racist uncle had that same attitude: “America right or wrong!!!!” If the U.S. government calls you to a fight, even if the stated mission of the war is to kill millions of 1-year-old babies, a really good American will go and kill those babies because that is what real American patriotism is all about. America calls—you go. To do otherwise is just unAmerican. Sure. People who think like this are going to hate Kaep.

    3) Have any of you ever visited blog sites established and operated by former Navy S.E.A. L.S. and other veterans of the U.S. armed forces? I sure have. They are regularly visited by scores of veterans. They have a party line—and if you do not agree fully with the party line—then you have no right to be a citizen of this country. They hate visitors who never served in the American armed forces like they did. There is very much of an “I had to go get shot at while you idiots were safe at home” attitude—so that makes them a real American—and it makes us (you folks and me) nonAmericans. There is also an overwhelming attitude of “I know everything” and “You cowards I defended know nothing.” I walked away from those blogs half-way wishing every dam* ed one of those guys had been killed on a foreign battlefield just to make the United States a safer place for children, bunny rabbits, and electric toasters. So, I will just say it right here.

    Generally speaking, I appreciate people who served in the U.S. armed forces and defended us all—and especially those who were wounded or those who died doing it. However, I have ZERO respect for the belly-aching, conceited, know-it-all former servicemen who operate these blogs and the veterans-with-an-attitude who frequent them. If you were going to look back on your service the way you do, with all that conceitedness, bitterness, unresolved anguish, and hatred for your fellow man, I really wish you had just stayed home with your momma instead of taking that taxi cab down to the recruiting station. Invariably—invariably—invariably, I think you will find that people like these veteran-jerk bloggers are the ones who are giving Kaep. such a hard time.

    I have said it before, and I will say it again. The United States—right now—is approaching full ripeness for a massive Second American Civil War. Across a wide range of issues, we are polarized on nearly everything, and the invention of the internet did two major things:

    1) It defined the full range of our polarizations so every Americans can plainly see them—something that was not even remotely possible before the Internet

    2) It showed the full depth of our polarizations on issues, increased the polarization to a fever pitch, and is continuing to do so.

    Civil War—the shooting kind with blood—neighbor pitted against neighbor—family members killing each other—American cities laid to waste—massive starvation in the streets. It is coming. It is inevitable. The outrage against Kaep. is just a tiny, dying yellow canary in this gas-filled coal mine we call America.

    • And yes, after November 22, 1963, the whole American nation started to go to Hell in a hand basket. I am not given to nutty conspiracy theories, but you can nonetheless pinpoint that day as what statisticians call a “sectioning point” between “what was” and “what was to come.”

    • Charles:
      Thank you, thank you. thank you. Your comments are so brave and rightly so., I will not go near the Vets sites, as they rile me up to no end., they have such hatred for the people of the United States, except for their mirror image, and that is unacceptable. Some people could not go to war for various reasons, but these guys and gals, I might add, tar everyone with the same brush. You are so right about the polarization, it is getting so murky and tight and very cloudy., I am praying it doesn’t come to a Civil War, but yes, you can see glimpses of it in every State, but more so in the South. Your analogy of a dying yellow canary in this gas-filled coal mine called America is a good one and should be put on T-Shirts for all to see and talk about before it is too late. Thanks again..for sharing. Now, let’s hope there will be a start to make a change..

  16. One of the unsaid things about this sort of thing is that it appears that everyone in America is under constant observation. Not by the Big Brother State, but by everyday busybodies.

    This is really creepy.

    In fact it reminds me of the former Soviet bloc and its satellite states. Every street had at least one informer; someone who spied on their neighbours and denounced any perceived offence against the State to the ‘authorities’. It seems you have the same in the USA, although so much worse a) because the Soviet state did not have the resource to prosecute everyone and b) because with the speed of modern social media communications, the Chinese whispers and wildfire accusations make the end result far further out of proportion to the original offence than would a simple report to the authorities.

    Although of course, in this case, the ‘authorities’ are a bunch of uncontrolled vigilantes, gossips and violent people as well.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who will watch the watchers?)

  17. This essay come dangerously close to a false dichotomy that to think not standing for the national anthem is disrespectful means one also thinks black lived do not matter. Overly simplistic for someone who normally understands nuance. I may be missing something, but I haven’t seen Lochte getting many pats on the head……generally universal condemnation for representing the US poorly.

    • I wonder if it is a false dichotomy.

      If it is a false dichotomy as you suggest, then are you saying that anyone condemning CK believes that every man has an absolute obligation to stand for the national anthem (which would be an absurd thing to believe)?

      I’m genuinely curious what else could be the cause of condemnation?

      • Hey Dean……I may have worded that poorly. What I think John is suggesting is that if one sees CK’s actions as disrespectful he/she must also think black lives do not matter. What I mean to say is that those issues are not related….it is possible to see CK as wrong and agree with BLM. While I stand for the anthem, it is not obligatory for everyone.

        • OK thanks, I understand now and I agree with you. It is possible to disagree with CK but agree with BLM.

          I guess my problem is that I have a hard time criticizing any peaceful demonstration of protest.

  18. But Kaepernick ISN’T right. Not only is the evidence that police are “getting away with murder” scant at best, but the idea that the national government is to blame for this, when it seems to be doing an awful lot to combat the problem, is simply ill-founded.

    And the article here is bizarrely hypocritical: it says one the one hand that it’s wrong when we’re “ignoring people dying but getting worked up over a football pre game ceremony,” but on the other hand that “a solider sacrificing for America” and “an athlete making a statement about black lives mattering in America” are not “opposing ideas.” Well, neither are people dying and getting worked up over the country being explicitly disrespected “opposing ideas.”

    And then he compares people getting worked up over Kaepernick to people “who gave Ryan Lochte a little pat on the head.” Again with the false equivalency, while complaining about false equivalency.

    And no, this is not about whether protesting is “American.” It absolutely isn’t. It’s about whether THIS protest is “American.” And it is reasonable for someone to think that an unreasonable protest against America isn’t very American.

    The idea that vilifying Kaepernick for incorrectly vilifying America means people don’t get the “point” of America, or that they have no problem with police brutality, is completely idiotic.

    • Freddie Gray had full use of his lower body until he was loaded into a police van. Every one of the officers that dealt with him that day know how his spine got severed (do you realize how much force is required to sever someone’s spine?) as do innumerable others on that police force. None have been convicted in his death, and none will. That’s called “getting away with murder.”

  19. My father fought a war to save democracy. That war ended a long, long time ago; in the 40’s. Maybe the Korean war had some part of that. Every war since then has been about oil or profit. I do not think any of them actually made me, or the country, safer. And some probably made us demonstrably more unsafe. The soldiers who died were volunteers. They may volunteer because it was the only future they saw available, but they were volunteers.
    But the real issue is idolatry. The flag and the song are idols that substitute for ideas and thought. Worship of the flag and worship of the song are the marks of an undeveloped understanding of what rfeally has made America a wonderful place to live and be. Pefect? Absolutely not; but I hope working towardsa perfection

  20. I know sometimes it’s cool and progressive to believe the narrative over the facts, but the recent USA today articles shine a different light on the Lochte story.

  21. At a pre-season pro football game Friday night, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick did not stand for the playing of the national anthem. He explained his protest after the game: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.”

    As a result, Kaepernick has received an avalanche of criticism and racist abuse.

    To express your support for this brave athlete, please click here to add your name to this short statement:

    “Colin Kaepernick: We support your right to protest in support of racial justice. Thank you.”

    Kaepernick has used social media to express his sympathy with the Black Lives Matter movement and his concern about police killings of African Americans. After the game, he commented: “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

    The athlete continued: “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

    https://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12452

      • After receiving a barrage of questions about Colin Kaepernick, a veteran responds loud and clear

        Jim Wright is an Iraqi war veteran. He has a blog called StoneKettle Station. He’s also active on his Facebook account where he posted a long piece about the Colin Kaepernick statements concerning his refusal to stand during the playing of the National Anthem at football games. Wright explained that he had taken a day away from the internet and when he came back his inbox was filled with people asking him what his feelings were, being a veteran. So, as a veteran, he decided to answer.

        The very first thing I learned in the military is this: Respect is a two-way street. If you want respect, true respect, sincere respect, then you have to GIVE IT.
        Wright explains that the concept of respect is an earned commodity. If you want someone to have it, they need to feel it themselves and give it willingly. He explains that forcing and trying to threaten Kaepernick into “respecting” the flag is an illusion and an unsatisfactory one at that. He very articulately explains to those who clearly do not understand, that the United States is a construct, not an individual with hurt feelings. Finally, he drops the mic.

        SIGN THE PETITION
        SIGN THIS: I stand with Colin Kaepernick’s right to sit down
        Welcome back, Gloriamarie!
        Not Gloriamarie? Click here.
        By signing this petition you will receive periodic updates on offers and activism opportunities from Daily Kos. You may unsubscribe at any time. Here’s our privacy policy.

        Sign the Petition
        To you the National Anthem means one thing, to Kaepernick it means something else. We are all shaped and defined by our experiences and we see the world through our own eyes. That’s freedom. That’s liberty. The right to believe differently. The right to protest as you will. The right to demand better. The right to believe your country can BE better, that it can live up to its sacred ideals, and the right to loudly note that it has NOT. The right to use your voice, your actions, to bring attention to the things you believe in. The right to want more for others, freedom, liberty, justice, equality, and RESPECT.

        A true veteran might not agree with Colin Kaepernick, but a true veteran would fight to the death to protect his right to say what he believes.

        You don’t like what Kaepernick has to say? Then prove him wrong, BE the nation he can respect.

        It’s really just that simple.
        It really is just that simple.

        http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/8/29/1564977/-After-receiving-a-barrage-of-questions-about-Colin-Kaepernick-a-veteran-responds-loud-and-clear?detail=email&link_id=3&can_id=aac248234d067d672dba041bb62601e0&source=email-bette-midler-trumps-donalds-criticism-of-the-clinton-foundationand-its-divinely-hilarious&email_referrer=bette-midler-trumps-donalds-criticism-of-the-clinton-foundationand-its-divinely-hilarious&email_subject=bette-midler-trumps-donalds-criticism-of-the-clinton-foundation-and-its-divinely-hilarious

        • I’ve been active duty for more than 20 years now, and I have absolutely nothing wrong with him not standing for the anthem. I think he’s kind of an idiot, and think his actions are far more self serving than they are altruistic, and they certainly weren’t brave. NFL teams care about one thing, winning. If he helps them win he’ll keep his job. If he doesn’t, he won’t. He hasn’t helped them win for a couple of years now, which is why he’s not the starter anymore. He’ll make it in the NFL on talent, not his stance on social issues. He hasn’t risked anything other than the ire of total strangers. So people he’ll never meet called him mean names on a website he doesn’t have to read. Ooooh, what a horrible thing.

          I was merely curious, as someone who in previous comments sections has made it clear she is a staunch Hillary Clinton fan, if you are as adamant about his verbal bravery when he doesn’t fall in line with your ideology. Instead you linked to a random vets opinion in an attempt at an appeal to authority, as if his opinion on the matter is any more significant than anyone else’s.

          Though what he did in no way offends me, I don’t have any respect for it, because I think it’s meaningless. As some worth multiple millions of dollars, he is in a unique position to do something about the problems he’s citing other than riding the pine during the national anthem. If he really believes the problem is that bad, he should do something about it. His counterpart in Seattle used his wealth and fame to start a foundation that recently raised more than a million bucks for Seattle Children’s hospital. Kaepernick, instead, chose a meaningless gesture that does nothing for anyone. That shouldn’t fit anyone’s definition of bravery.

          • The plain fact of the matter is that I think he is stupid to embrace football as a career. It is a liturgy of legalized violence which attracts violent people.

            I ignore the existence of the NFL, stories of the NFL players. I don’t care what their opinions are on any matter. I am sick of the fact that these violent people are worshipped.

            I would not have known a thing about this incidence were it not for John.

              • You really are quite condescending and patronizing. And rather silly because this is not about football, it’s about Freedom of Speech, it’s about the fact that this country was founded through civil disobedience so it is in our nation’s bloodstream.

                I also care about black lives of which this country has squandered too many.

                #BlackLivesMatter.

                • Your entire previous comment was about football and your disdain for it. You can’t stand the hero worship of violent NFL players, but you are imploring people to sign a petition supporting one of them for his “bravery,” while at the same time insisting you “don’t care what their opinions are on any matter.” It’s an odd contradiction.

                  And where does civil disobedience come in to this? He broke no laws. He’s not being oppressed. This isn’t civil disobedience. It’s vanity.

                  • Red herrings, just red herrings.

                    If one isn’t part of the solution, then one is part of the problem.

                    If you don’t agree that #BlackLivesMatter, then you are part of the problem.

                    If anyone is more scandalized by an athlete failing to stand for the NationalAnthem then they are by Trump failing to put his hand over his heart in a salute to the flag during one of the debates, then that person is part of the problem.

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