Holy shit. What is so difficult to understand about this Colin Kaepernick situation?

It’s not disrespecting the flag and anyone that thinks it is, has a fundamental misunderstanding of what that flag stands for.

Our flag is a symbol of the American way of life. Our troops protect this way of life and these common values. These common values are born of our founding documents that endow each citizen with a series of rights. The very first amendment (you know, that one before the second one) grants Kaepernick the RIGHT to speak freely.

And yes, the first amendment does have some restrictions. You can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. You can’t incite violence or make threats.

But… he has not called for violence. He is not inciting hate speech.

Furthermore, he has not said anything that could even be considered remotely disparaging to the troops.

And yes, Kaepernick works for a private team. In these circumstances there can be consequences. The 49ers can fire him for these beliefs and this protest. It’s their prerogative.

But in a sport where grown men ram into each other at full speed for our enjoyment, and there have been so many examples of players accused of rape, domestic violence, and in some cases murder, is not standing for the national anthem to call attention to the systematic injustice that African-Americans face in America really that bad?

What is disrespectful to both our troops and our flag is to expect people that have the RIGHT to express themselves, who have the RIGHT speak freely, and who have the RIGHT to protest, to not exercise that RIGHT in the face of what they see as injustice.

You don’t have to agree with Kaepernick’s take on it, though I’d question anyone that doesn’t think the response to police violence is an issue worth having a few conversations about.

He is calling attention to an issue through silent protest.

His protest stopped being silent once we called attention to it.

So guess what? It’s working.

The point is the very same right you are using to criticize him, call for him to be cut, or suggest that he should be physically harmed, is the same one he is exercising by quietly sitting down.

So, if feel you need to chime in, please keep in mind that it is more disrespectful to our troops to suggest that Kaepernick is disrespecting our troops by choosing not to exercise the rights they put their lives on the line to protect. It cheapens their sacrifice.

Just say what you really mean: you don’t think police violence is a problem, killing unarmed black people is ok since they were probably in a gang or something, and police should get paid leave while the investigation to clear them of wrongdoing is underway.

And while you have the right to that opinion or any other opinion, it is a different conversation than the one about whether Kaepernick’s protest was wrong or disrespectful to the troops or the flag.

You don’t have to agree with him, but you can’t take for granted your right to express yourself while denying him the very same right.

“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.”

PS. I can’t believe you’re making me side with Colin Kaepernick. I hate that guy.

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