Where are you, Colin Kaepernick? Symbol of America's cultural tempest stays quiet

A Kansas City Chiefs fan holds a sign against the anthem protests during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Kansas City Mo. Monday Oct. 2 2017

But then, about a year ago, this guy Colin Kaepernick comes along and quietly sits for the US national anthem at several football games before someone finally notices and a reporter asks him about it. Kaepernick, disturbed by several cases of unarmed black men being killed with no repercussions, says he is protesting the oppression of people of colour in America and ongoing police brutality.

"We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players", he said.

The saga continued last weekend, when Vice President Pence left the Indianapolis Colts game after seeing players kneel during the anthem because of the "disrespect to our flag and our country", he remarked on Twitter.

Wherever the "stick to sports" guys end up now that they've been forced to leave their favourite teams behind, I hope they find peace. I do, however, care a lot about being able to freely express oneself through free speech or the right to voice one's opinion.

The interview was taped before a live audience in Dauphin County, PA - where Trump also delivered a speech on tax reform on Wednesday.

Washington Redskins teammates during the national anthem before a game against the Oakland Raiders at FedExField on September 24, 2017 in Landover, Maryland.

To stand or to kneel during the national anthem is a debatable topic. President Trump, taking desperate measures, even called Jones prior to the public protest, asking him to urge the Cowboys not to kneel. This doesn't have equal significance: If you're Donald Trump and at 40 percent or below in the polls, a 50/50 issue works for you; if you are the National Football League and trying to appeal to a broad audience, a 50/50 issue is a disaster for you. He knew several 49ers would kneel: President Donald Trump said he sent Pence for the goal of reacting. It's not just that it is a game that should be a respite from political and social contention; as a quasi-national festival, it should be identified with a certain baseline of patriotism (the national anthem, the enormous American flags on the field before games, the military flyovers, etc.). The New York Times reported on findings from Morning Consult, which runs daily polls of about 5,000 adults on a number of issues, and found that suddenly the National Football League is a wedge issue all by itself. But despite that, I've been side-eyed for kneeling.

It'd obviously be better if a president of the United States weren't waging war on a major sports league. It would have thrown more fuel on the fire and had the exact opposite effect of what Trump imagines. Football players are unifying in an act of expression for their ideas and beliefs, which carries back to the roots of what this country was founded on.



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