I just think it comes down to intent—we don’t interpret acts that are explicitly listed by US code as disrespectful b/c there is no disrespect intended. Meanwhile, most of these players have explicitly said they intend no disrespect so it seems the same rules should apply.
But that’s my interpretation and yours is yours.
People are free to interpret things based on their own opinions/experiences and react accordingly. If you or anyone else is unmoved by the protesters assurances re not intending disrespect, that is your right as it is your right to respond accordingly. Within reason, of course, and refusing to watch games is certainly within reason.
Time will tell if you’re right about the larger ramifications. Either way, I appreciate the input even if we don’t totally agree.