A well-known professional football player has made a personal and public statement about his feelings of the state of the country. San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick has chosen to remain seated (or kneeled down in another game) during the playing of the American National Anthem. To paraphrase him, he just does not feel any respect for a country that encourages and perpetuates violence against minorities. I assume he is talking about the police and not violence and shootings of minorities against each other.
I listened to Mr. Kaepernick in his after antics press conference. He did not strike me as a particularly informed, thoughtful person, particularly wearing a Fidel Castro t-shirt (and earlier wearing socks depicting polices as pigs) However, I give him his due for exercising his First Amendment right and for having the courage to take the resultant outrage and scorn for his actions.
He has, of course, the sympathy of our President.
I am not sure why the National Anthem is played at sporting events. However, in a sign of respect, the custom is to stand as it is usually the custom to stand when the flag or colors are presented. People also stand for the playing of the anthem of other countries. It is not that we think that name-the crummy-country is great but we do it out of respect.
I was trying to think of other occasions where people stand. For example, people stand when the President of the United States enters the room. It is a sign of respect for the office not necessarily the person. How would people react if an anti-Obama person decided to remain seated when he enters the room, or turn their back on him because they do not respect him as President? Wonder if he would defend that as an exercise of the First Amendment or merely label the person as a hater or racist?
We also usually stand at both private and public events where a prayer is given—invocation or benediction. Would it be fine to sit because a person does not believe in religion? What happens if it is Islam? Does that change things?
I do not profess to understand what it means to be in a group that feels things are always against them, having a real or perceived fear in public. I can never really walk in those shoes. Whatever the motive of Mr. Kaepernick, his actions- whether you agree with them or not- are a symbol of what divides the country, not just on race but on a host other things. But for me, I will continue to stand.