Colin Kaepernick’s choice not to stand for the Star-Spangled Banner prior to San Francisco 49ers football games was bound to inspire impassioned reaction.
As the “controversy” has continued to simmer over the past few days, the reaction has been not exactly mixed but varied in its form and, more interestingly, its sources.
Take Jim Brown for example.
The legendary former Cleveland Browns running back has never been shy about voicing his opinion on social matters, and he did on Kaepernick through the NFL Network.
The pull-quote was an easy one – “I’m with Colin Kaepernick 100 percent.” – but the rest of that paragraph was interesting, too.
“I listened to him and he makes all the sense in the world. He’s within his rights and he’s telling the truth as he sees it,” Brown said. “I am with him 100 percent…”
Kaepernick told reporters he was sitting to show support for people who are being oppressed in this country. He specifically cited police brutality as an issue that needed to be addressed before he would stop sitting during the anthem.
“Now if you ask me ‘Would I do that?’” Brown said on NFL Network. “No I won’t, because I see it a little differently. I’m an American citizen, I pay my taxes, I want my equal rights but this is my country, and consequently I don’t want to open up for ISIS or anybody that will take away what we’ve already gained.”
Brown both sees Kaepernick’s point but disagrees with the process because he is worried about potential unintended consequences. That’s the opposite juxtaposition many seem to have staked out.
Many who have opposed Kaepernick seem simply put off by dissing the flag and/or the national anthem altogether regardless of what point he is trying to make. That’s probably led some to dismiss his points without considering them deeply, too. (And it’s possible to consider them even if we don’t think we want to agree, something we seem to forget quite often these days.)
Meanwhile, another item trending on Facebook is significant: #VeteransForKaepernick.
Of course, that hashtag’s counter-intuitiveness is the reason it’s trending, but it’s interesting nonetheless because a common dismissal of Kaepernick’s action is accompanied by the argument about what the flag and the anthem mean in regards to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Protests are fine, the argument goes, but some things are sacred.
If dissing them is by default also dissing men and women who have served our country, is it then not worth doing? That’s an argument some would seem to have made.
No matter on which side a person sits (or even if they fall in between), it’s interesting to see the lines blurred.
And that’s a good thing if it leads to more discussion and less division.