You probably already know this, but just in case you haven’t been paying attention, here is a breakdown of the main facts surrounding Colin Kaepernick:
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines last summer and fall when he chose not to stand during the national anthem that precedes every NFL game.
His quiet act of protest (which he had done without incident several times before reporters asked him about it) sparked a firestorm of controversy and a series of similar protests from several other NFL players, continuing the ongoing national conversation about incidents of police brutality that sparked the #BlackLivesMatter movement
Kaepernick went on to have a fairly uneventful year on the field. His team went 1-10, but his individual performance was decent; he threw for 16 touchdowns against 4 interceptions, earning a total QB rating in the bottom third of starting NFL quarterbacks (pay attention to that word: starting quarterbacks).
Now, on the eve of another NFL season, Kaepernick has yet to be signed by any NFL team, despite not only being better than most (if not all) of the QBs signed ahead of him as backups, but according to star cornerback Richard Sherman, better than several current starting QBs as well.
This collective unwillingness to sign Kaepernick (some call it blackballing, but whether it’s a coordinated effort or a series of risk-averse GMs choosing not to court controversy, the net effect is still the same) has sparked unrest among African-Americans, and several have called for an NFL boycott, including evangelical pastor Leroy Barber, a longtime Dallas Cowboys fan.
Now… whether Colin Kaepernick is truly elite, whether he’s washed up, whether it’s a good business decision to sign him for NFL franchises or not… none of those are the main concern of this post.
No, my main concern is to address the main criticism I see lobbed at Colin Kaepernick from conservatives who feel that his protests were disrespectful. One Facebook acquaintance said that many veterans feel like it’s “a slap in the face” to disrespect the flag or the anthem.
The inference here is simple: Colin Kaepernick must not love America, because if he did, he wouldn’t be protesting.
Allow me a brief thought experiment while I demonstrate my moderate habit of switching ideological teams…