National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick is not disrespecting the American flag or the United States of America by choosing to kneel during the national anthem before NFL games. Kaepernick is making a stand about what he perceives to be an issue, and is not initiating some elaborate scheme to draw attention to himself.
The backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers began protesting the national anthem in order to make a stand for what he deems to be an issue of racial injustice in the United States. He then backed up his stance by donating all of the proceeds from his jersey sales, as well as $1 million, to organizations that work on both racial inequality and the improvement of the relationships existing between law enforcement and the communities that they protect.
Protesting the national anthem is not a disgrace to the armed forces that fight for the country’s freedom, but is instead done as a liberty afforded by the constitution. The constitution gives United States citizens the freedom of expression, and exercising that right is in fact all Kaepernick is doing. According to Kaepernick, he is exercising his rights for those who cannot, which is a completely different action from taking a stand against those that protect these liberties.
The point of his protest is not for people to discuss whether or not Kaepernick should be allowed to kneel during the anthem, because the constitution itself allows him to do so. Instead Kaepernick’s intention is to get people to discuss a solution for inequality, if they believe that indeed his claims on the issue are legitimate. Whether or not someone believes that he is kneeling for the right issue or at the right moment is a valid point of discussion, but it is unfair to speak ill of Kaepernick for simply expressing his liberties as an American.