August 30, 2016

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has caused a stir in the sports world by refusing to stand up during the National Anthem to protest how African Americans have been treated in the United States.

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people [police officers are] getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

As usual the more jingoistic players and commentators have condemned him for not supporting America (tm), while others understand his First Amendment right to speak out and peacefully protest.

While others like Jim Brown support Colin's actions 100%, but would have done it a bit differently.

Enter Donald Trump.

“I think it’s — personally — not a good thing,” Trump said on the “Dori Monson Show” on Monday, as BuzzFeed reported. “I think it’s a terrible thing, and you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try. It won’t happen,” the Republican presidential nominee continued.

Wow, exercising free speech and not being "PC" is Trump's calling card, but you know - that only applies to other Republicans.

ESPN's First Take tackled the topic this morning and new co-host Max Kellerman weighed in on the subject.

Kellerman started off by saying Colin couldn't find a better country than this one, "but that's partly because he doesn't have to stand up for the National Anthem."

He continued, "It's pretty difficult for Trump or anyone to argue that you dishonor our nation by exercising what may of us consider our most fundamental right or our most American right - our First Amendment right. A right to free speech."

Then he asked, "How do you dishonor by exercising that right? And the 'America, love it or leave it' crowd, which here, Trump is stating that kind of sentiment. I think totally misses the point. Instead of 'America, love it or leave it,' how about 'America love it so change it.' That's been the history of our country."

Right on, Max.

However, Kellerman doesn't understand that the root of conservative thought comes from "never changing" from the sacred traditions that autocratic rulers lived by.

Here's a link to Corey Robin's great book "The Reactionary Mind" that explains, in depth, the history of conservative protectionism.

Kaepernick took a risk with this protest, because he's a smart man. He knew how this would be perceived by the Trump crowd and he took the risk anyway.

In related and positive news, a California sheriff’s office has invited Kaepernick to check out the training officers got, after his comments on police violence. We can hope that many of the recommendations from Black Lives Matter regarding police training, community policing, and bias awareness will come to pass.

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