I am not a liberal, though perhaps quite a bit less conservative than you. That’s ok. Even though we don’t agree, let’s keep this respectful please.
Your example of flipping someone off makes a good point about how certain actions have an agreed upon definition in our culture. If these players were flipping off the flag, then I’d have to conclude that they were being disrepectful.
So let’s look at the agreed upon understanding of kneeling in our culture. We kneel to pray. We kneel beside fallen soldiers. We kneel to indicate submissiveness. So then kneeling is an agreed upon way to show reverence or submission to someone. These men are kneeling before our flag. They have stated that their intention in doing so is to reverently and respectfully make a social statement, and that is in line with other uses of kneeling in our culture.
Colin sat out the National Anthem in a preseason game before he started kneeling. But then a teammate and decorated Green Beret spoke to him and convinced him that kneeling could show more respect and still make the point. Colin responded by doing exactly that. He recognized that sitting out the Anthem was not sufficiently respectful and he made a change at the request of his friend.
At the end of the day, I respect your decision to always stand. I always stand as well. I am a veteran and I am patriotic. I personally think these men could better make their point without this controversy by taking some other actions. So I agree with you on that. I just don’t agree that they are being disrespectful. Respect or disrespect comes from the heart and their hearts appear to be in the right place, even if their choice of methods are not what I would want them to choose.