Why do we even play the national anthem at sporting events? (We do at MLB games where a plurality of players are probably not from the USA. And then sing God Bless America too!) There’s nothing inherently patriotic about attending them.
I haven’t said the pledge of allegiance or covered my heart since I decided in 7th grade that there was not in fact justice for all. I continue to not say pledge for that reason and because I do not believe in god. So does that make me unpatriotic? I don’t believe it does — just the opposite. Pointing out our faults is the only way to fix them, which is a high form of patriotism.
If I were on the platform upon which we place these athletes, I use it too.