Nike’s support of Colin Kaepernick, and by extension all the players taking a knee during the National Anthem, disturbs me.
I’m glad that Mr. Kaepernick and the other players believe strongly enough in something to take some action and to participate in what’s going on in our country. That by itself can be a hard thing to do.
However, I firmly believe that kneeling during the National Anthem is disrespectful.
The Anthem and the U.S. Flag are symbols of this country. They represent the whole country, the good and the bad. If you love this country you must take it ALL. Then, work to fix what’s broken, improve what could be better, and celebrate what is good and what is great!
It is a country where we have opportunity. Opportunity to find success. Opportunity to overcome our mistakes. Opportunity to make a difference in our own lives and the lives of others. Regardless of what we think of issues our country is still struggling to overcome we must NOT take for granted the fact that we have the opportunity to continue that struggle and to improve. When you kneel during the Anthem you ARE disrespecting what the Flag stands for, not just America, but OPPORTUNITY. You are disrespecting, and perhaps even damaging, YOUR opportunity.
The players have SO many other ways they could get their message out. Unlike the average person, they have enough celebrity to be able to call press conferences. Unlike the average person, they often have millions of dollars they make which can fund foundations, media campaigns, and legal defense for those they feel have been treated unjustly. They can donate their time and their personal celebrity to events and demonstrations. These are just SOME ideas and NONE of them include showing ANY disrespect to our country or any symbol that represents it.
There is also another point that bothers me. The players who are taking hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to play a game are, in fact, employees. The field is their workplace. As their workplace they are not necessarily free to express just any opinion. This is NOT a first amendment issue. If you want to exercise your freedom of speech do it outside of your place of work, outside the stadium, off the field that you are paid to be on.
The Bottom Line
Whether you are an average person, a celebrity, a player, a corporation, support and pursue your cause with every fiber of your being. But do it without disrespecting the flag and the country that makes it possible for you do so.