Thoughts on Kaepernick Protest

Recently, San Francisco 49er quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, refused to stand for the National Anthem during a pregame ceremony. The backlash has been swift and loud.

On my news feed, I saw a friend post “You should never be critical of your country!”

Really?! Never?!

Why is blind patriotism considered more virtuous than civil disobedience?!

One ignorantly accepts that everything is great, and the other attempts to peacefully bring attention to an issue. Which one really helps move the country forward?

Being critical of this country is not a crime, but in the court of public opinion it is a felony! Why is it that every time someone speaks out against injustices in America the world of social media attacks their character? I don’t get it.

The strong response to his recent protest is strange. He’s feeling the pressure from the frontside and the blindside. One camp is critical of his protest, calling it unpatriotic and disrespectful. Another is calling his “black-ness” into question, citing that he is biracial and raised by adoptive, white parents.

The vocal critics are looking at Kaepernick’s protest through their own perspective. They are attaching their own experiences to the situation, using their egos as a basis for judgement (Ego is a current interest of mine (See other blogs 1, 2)).

Camp A — “I love this country (for a number of different reasons). How dare he disrespect the National Anthem?! That is a sacred song that I know 75–80% of the words to!”

Camp B — “This guy thinks he knows what it’s like to be a black person in America?! I am way Black-er than him. He has no idea how hard it is. Granted, I’ve never met him nor do I really know anything about him, but I bet he’s had it easy.”

Honestly, I don’t see the controversy. For the millions of people that seem to take umbrage with this protest, it literally would’ve gone unnoticed and would’ve only affected the lives of tens of people had the media not picked up the story. It was a quiet protest — the smallest of gestures.

Kaepernick did not burn the flag, incite violence, or devalue the sacrifices made by the military. He simply did not stand for a ritual, and when asked about it he shared his logic in what seemed to be a calm and peaceful manner!

  • THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!!!
  • “BECAUSE I WOULD ALWAYS STAND FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM!” or
  • “HE’S NOT BLACK ENOUGH. WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS?!”

I recognize that a public protest must deal with the public scrutiny and backlash. Freedom of speech equally protects the protester and the protesters of the original protest. Let it out! Let’s have a conversation! Conversations are good, judgement blinded by one’s own ego is not.

Everyone, have a little empathy. You’ve never run a 40 yard dash in his cleats. You don’t know what’s on his mind or heart. Stop projecting what is on yours.


For the record, I never liked Colin Kaepernick. As a football fan, I thought it was the wrong move to name him the starter after a few weeks of successful relief work for the injured Alex Smith back in 2012. Truthfully, it didn’t upset me when only a few years later his weaknesses as a QB were exposed, the head coach changed a few times and the 49ers were in a tailspin. I was able to feed my ego and tell everyone (although no one was listening), “I told you so.”

(See, my ego gets me in trouble too).

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