Monday, August 29, 2016

Let Him Sit

Why are we so touchy about people who don't show "proper patriotism"?  We've heard plenty about American athletes not showing "respect" for their flag or the National Anthem the last couple of weeks.  Gymnasts weren't putting their hands over their hearts or singing along to the anthem at the Rio Olympics.  And then on Friday, Colin Kaepernick decided he is no longer going to stand for the anthem as a show of support for Black Lives Matter.

In the grand scheme of things--whether it be your life or the security of our nation--what difference does it make if an athlete shows proper respect for the flag or doesn't?  150 other players, plus coaches trainers and officials on the field in San Francisco Friday night did stand for the anthem and faced the flag.  From personal experience, I know that reporters in the press box never take their eyes off their smartphones during the anthem--and some of them may be the one's taking Kaepernick to task on their talk shows and on-line blogs.

Did the beer lines at Levi's stadium suddenly empty out and everyone go running back into the seating bowl to "honor America?"  How many fans make a bathroom run as soon as the PA announces introduces the musical 'star" or band that is about to play the song--knowing they can still make it back in time for kickoff?

Let's keep in mind that the men and women who have worn the same flag on their uniforms that Colin Kaepernick refuses to honor fought and died for him to have that very freedom.  We may "report" on stars who don't show patriotism in the spotlight--but no government officials are coming to "interrogate" them about their allegiance to the country like they do in some other nations.  If Colin gets carjacked or attacked at a nightclub, the police officers that wear the flag on their sleeves will still come to his aid--whether he is leading the singing of the anthem--or he's sitting in the locker room from now on.  And the government that he accuses of acting against him will continue to print the millions of dollars the 49ers pay him to sit the bench for more than just the National Anthem.

Is the third meaningless game of the pre-season the right place to make a political statement?  Not really.  Is Colin Kaepernick wrong in his beliefs about this country?  I think so.  But the very reason that the rest of us do take a few moments to "honor America" before our sporting events is a reminder of why people like Colin Kaepernick can express themselves in the exact opposite way.

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