Protesting the national anthem distracts from your cause but you have the right to do it

Kaepernick is getting an early start to warming the bench.

Getting an early start to bench warming.

As patriot, proud of my service, I can say without reservation that I don’t give a good damn if a football player stands for the national anthem or not. In fact, having the choice to stand or not it is one of the ways I know I am free. But if it is used as a form of protest you are distracting from your cause and the message will not be about your protest but about your right to remain seated.

I addressed this last year when apparently it was cool to disrespect the flag. Like then, any American symbol has a number of different meanings that are individual to each person, but as soon as you disrespect the symbol it only represents you having the freedom to express your beliefs and not whatever meaning you try to assign it. Colin Kaepernick’s actions shows how truly free he, and every other American, actually is. In fact, it is only through the expression of unpopular opinions that we know how free we actually are. One of the very benchmarks of freedom are protesting openly and protesting a national symbol. Try that in North Korea or Russia and see how far it gets you.

Quarterback for the 49ers, so easy a Specialist can do it.

Quarterback for the 49ers, so easy a Specialist can do it. Image from a previous Military Appreciation Day by the Chargers.
Photo by” Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jennifer S. Kimbal

He has every right to remain seated during the national anthem. As a veteran I served my country and believe I defended that right. I will continue to defend that right to my last breath. I don’t have to agree with him to know that he retains his rights and freedoms as an American citizen. In fact, I think he is a huge douchenozzle. And that is my right. I get to express my freedom of expression by saying that I think Colin Kaepernick is a huge douchenozzle and there is nothing that he or anyone can do about it. Unlike Captain Douchenozzle, I earned my rights and freedoms with blood and sweat in distant lands. My tab is paid. I get to say that it doesn’t take much courage to sit on your ass, protected by venue security and police officers where you will be escorted on and off the field and if the team decides that he is not performing (which he isn’t) he is still guaranteed more than $11 of his $19 million contract this year.

Can you honestly think of a lazier protest? The only way he could have been lazier is if he stayed at home. The result would have been exactly the same. He could have instagrammed in his PJs that he wasn’t going to suit up as long as there were people “dying in the streets.” In fact, with all the sitting he is going to be doing this season maybe standing for a few minutes wouldn’t hurt. In the quarterback rankings I could quickly Google he didn’t even make the list of the first two and on another site he is listed as the backup quarterback on the last ranked team. It is a lazy protest by a mediocre player.

Now I get it, he doesn’t like a lot of what he sees in the news and neither do I. But instead of lending his celebrity to put a spotlight on the issue he is distracting the conversation away from his protest and making it about his right to protest. I have seen more posts about whether there is a requirement to stand than about what he is staying in his seat for.

This is the Charger's response to the national anthem, cover the entire field with the flag.

This is the Charger’s response to the national anthem, cover the entire field with the flag.

That is the inherent issue with protesting a national symbol. The conversation becomes less about the cause protesting for and more about the right to protest. Truth be told, the national anthem is a poor symbol to protest. The reason being it doesn’t represent just one thing. It means s many things to so many different people that the very cause you are trying to support will not be the focus. Many people have been breaking down the meaning of the words of the anthem to include the verses that are not sung at the start of football games. All of this analysis is not on the issue Kaepernick is trying to champion but on the object of his distain. I would think that a song about resilience would be a good one for him to get behind. This oppression he speaks of will be survived and we will come out the other end better and stronger. Which is kind of the American way. We fight tyranny and oppression and are stronger for it.

Kaepernick is pretty much the embodiment of the American dream, you would think he would support any symbol of the country that has taken such good care of him. He was adopted by white people, had a full scholarship to college, and up until a couple of years ago, was at the top of his game and hugely successful. Even as he rejects the nation that has given him so much he is still guaranteed $11 million if his team cuts him for sucking at his job and $19 million if they allow him to warm the bench for another season. If he was a few shades lighter he would be the epitome of white privilege and not the champion for black people everywhere.

I don’t think he is an idiot because of the cause he chose to champion but the way he tried to champion it. What he should be doing is something that doesn’t distract from the cause. Celebrities are finding ways to protest the North Dakota pipeline without turning the conversation from the issue. He is also giving other teams ammunition to use against him and his team. For example, the San Diego Chargers had a freedom orgy all over the 49ers during the preseason game. Teams are going to continue to have fun with this because it will be good to get in the heads of the 49ers.

Kaepernick should have participated in a protest, or even led one, to gain support for the movement. Since he is lazy he could have just flown out the family members of black people killed by police like Beyoncé did and had them sit in the front row of games. There are much better ways to use his celebrity to advance a cause and the mechanism he is using it not very effective. So yes, Kaepernick is free to be lazy and sit for a couple more minutes per game. Just as I am free to call him a doucenozzle.

 

Full disclosure: I was raised in Seattle and have long been a Seahawks fan so I have thought Kaepernick was a douche for a long time. I am a black man, born and raised in the U-S-of-A. I am also a veteran forged in the Infantry with a couple deployments under my belt. I was the true believer grunt. I was the guy that believed that the service of the men and women to my left and right were defending our country and way of life. As a patriot that has seen flag draped coffins and performed funeral honors for both active duty soldiers and veterans I respect the flag and do not think it represents what  he thinks it does. I do more than lip service about veterans and veterans issues, I am so passionate about veteran’s issues that I created this website where I express my rights and freedoms. Especially the right to call Kaepernick a douchenozzle.

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