I think anyone born in America is blessed beyond words and should never take it for granted. I also understand why some people contend that our flag, anthem, and other American icons should NEVER be used as vehicles for protest. Therefore, it should not be a surprise that I don’t like the sight of wealthy NFL football players kneeling during the playing of our national anthem. But it is also contrary to the spirit of our constitution to punish people who don’t share that belief. Colin Kaepernick has been called spoiled, ungrateful and worse, but I don’t believe he ever said his silent protest was about him. Instead I believe given his privileged status in America, he felt a passionate need to express his solidarity for the many other African-Americans less fortunate than he is who have experienced oppression, systemically. We already know plenty of people will argue with his societal assessment, which is fine, however, Kaepernick is paying a big price for his stance, which I think is unfortunate.
I am grateful to be an American and may not agree with his method, but I share his concern for others and his desire to make things better in this country, particularly for people who have been denied justice far too frequently. I’ve also been around long enough to know that history generally sides with people like Muhammad Ali, Tommy Smith and Juan Carlos who sacrifice their standing, and potentially much more, by expressing peaceful dissent to advance the values of justice and equality for all.