What’s been frustrating to me about this whole thing is that it really has nothing to do with free speech. The First Amendment acknowledges and guarantees that people are free to criticize and disrespect our country, so I disagree with those who cite disrespect as a reason kneeling shouldn’t be allowed.
What both sides seem to be missing, however, is that the First Amendment does NOT require an employer to allow employees to protest on the clock, in uniform, and while representing the employer. It would be different if the NFL blackballed Colin Kaepernick for protests he did on his own time. But he wasn’t on his own time; he was on his employer’s time.