My recently deceased paternal grandfather served as a Sergeant in the army as a demolitions specialist in World War II, specifically in the Battle of the Bulge. He would always tell my father, “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll fight to the end for your right to say it.”
I strongly believe that if he were still alive today, he would stand by his words and defend San Francisco second string quarterback Colin Kaepernick in his current actions of kneeling during the national anthem. Whether he would do the same is a different story however.
What my grandfather conveyed in his saying is that through the First Amendment, we have certain freedoms, like the freedom to peaceably protest, the freedom of speech, freedom of religion and one of my personal favorites, freedom of the press. But this piece revolves around our freedom of speech and the freedom to peaceably protest and whether or not it is right or if Kaepernick has a legal right to have the freedom to choose to honor or disregard the national anthem.
I am not going to sugarcoat it. I strongly believe, Colin Kaepernick, and any other athlete for that matter, that decides to kneel when the national anthem or any other honor to the country is happening, is not only wrong, but disrespectful and unsympathetic, among many other things.
But disgusting or not, Kaepernick has the legal right to do so, and that is what people have to remember. So why is Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem in the first place?
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said according to an interview reported on by NFL.com. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Now, I nor anyone else can tell people what is right or wrong. It is an ethical and moral issue that is up for everyone to decide upon themselves. But in my opinion, if Kaepernick or any other person of fame wants to show their support for the black community, go right ahead. I find no issue with that.
However, I do have a problem with someone disrespecting the flag, nation and the people, who like my grandfather, fought with their lives to keep the country and us safe so that we can have these discussions of right versus wrong for ourselves. So please, show some respect to the people who fought for this country and do your protesting somewhere else. Kneel on the streets, in your house or anywhere else for all I care. But not on the field, in the presence of a flag, soldiers and people who choose to stand during the playing of the national anthem because it is the right thing to do.
Like I said, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. You have lost all my respect Colin Kaepernick and fellow supporters who have decided to protest during the playing of the national anthem. I’m just not going to be one of the people who say you can’t or don’t have the right to do that.