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Colin Kaepernick has every right to protest for his cause by sitting down for the national anthem. That right is given to each of us by virtue of the Constitution and First Amendment. We all enjoy the right of free speech afforded to us by a country whose very basic ideal includes the tenant that all men are created equal. Unfortunately pervasive racism and discrimination are a real and constant challenge to that ideal. Mr. Kaepernick, and any of us, are justified in speaking out and drawing attention to these issues, however, I would challenge him to exercise his First Amendment rights in a more thoughtful manner.

There are many ways to protest. The ESPYS awards show where Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade took to the stage and gave a heartfelt call to social action is a great example of athletes using their celebrity to shine a light on cause.

But to protest directly against the flag and the national anthem you are protesting against the symbols that represent the values that you feel are lacking in this country. These are the symbols that recognize the very rights that you exercise in protesting against them. And while the reality of life in the United States does not always live up to the values upon which it was built, you must acknowledge that you have been afforded many freedoms and liberties in this country which have allowed you to pursue your dreams, to get a world class education, to become a successful young man. As you sit on the bench in a lazy display of disrepect to the country that has given you the opportunity to achieve all of your dreams, please remember that on the other side of the world are men and women, many younger than you, who wear that flag and who serve, sometimes at the ultimate cost, to protect the right to do so.

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