As I begin to write this I would first like to acknowledge that this post might be unpopular with a lot of people. That being said I am fully prepared for the backlash and mean comments that might be coming my way but this is my blog and a place for me to share my opinions on different things and I will not apologize for doing so. For those of you who aren’t in the sports loop right now, the biggest story this week has been about Colin Kaepernick and his controversial actions to not stand for the national anthem before his last football game but instead chose to remain seated on the bench. When asked about it Colin said that he was refusing to stand in protest of the way African Americans were oppressed in this country especially by the police. It is undeniable that changes need to be made so this same thing isn’t happening every couple of weeks but that message seemingly got lost in the outrage at the way Kaepernick decided to protest.
I listen to a lot of sports talk radio and all week Colin has dominated the top stories but the message he intended to send has become secondary to him refusing to stand up for the national anthem. I don’t agree with the way he chose to protest, not because I think it’s some horrible act of treason not to stand for the anthem but because in doing so that overshadowed an important message that frankly needs to be brought out in the open and talked about. Remember the old saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees”? Well in this case a lot of people are failing to see the issue because of the controversy which I think is completely overblown. I appreciate the military and all that they do to protect our freedoms but I don’t think sitting out the national anthem is that big of a deal. Here is where I’m going to upset some people.
So Colin Kaepernick didn’t stand up for the national anthem. Who cares? To me the bigger issue is the importance that we place on a song. Not to disrespect the United States but it just seems a little bit tyrannical to say “we’re going to play our national anthem, and you are going to stand up and listen with your hand over your heart and if you don’t you will be labeled as ungrateful and un-American.” That premise just seems so ridiculous to me and I’m sure many people disagree with me but it’s just a song. Yes it is important to acknowledge and thank our military personnel and veterans but forcing people to stand for a song isn’t the way to do it. It’s played before every sporting event in the United States and I believe if people are being honest then they would admit that during the anthem their thoughts are wandering to the upcoming game rather than squarely focused on honoring the flag or the country. I love the United States and the freedom I enjoy living here but let’s look at the bigger issues at hand rather than focusing on something so trivial.