A major issue that American citizens have had with Kaepernick's form of protesting is the implications of disrespect to America and how it is seemingly unpatriotic. This is understandable, as the national anthem is one of the many ways to respect the military and the sacrifices they have made in order to maintain the "liberty and justice for all." People have been outraged because they view Kaepernick's actions as disrespectful and ungrateful toward the military and veterans (Armour).
However, many actions that everyday citizens perform could be viewed or interpreted as unpatriotic. The fact is that people only take notice to such things when an icon like Kaepernick does it or if it is something bold and out of the ordinary, such as kneeling during the anthem. Nancy Armour elaborates on this idea in an article she writes in response to many harsh, threatening emails she received after writing on the Kaepernick controversy. She points out the hypocrisy of the people opposed to the protests, saying "What I can't understand is... their hypocrisy, demanding respect for this country’s institutions and symbols when they refuse to show it for their fellow citizens" (Armour). The writer makes a great point that people all of a sudden become super patriotic only to "cover for the vehemence and volume of the reaction to Kaepernick and his fellow protesters" (Armour). Patriotism only becomes an issue in times like this. NFL players did not have to be on the field during the national anthem until 2009 and if people were truly patriotic, there would have been outrage and protest pushing for this concept long before. There is no doubt that plenty of fans are disregarding the national anthem during the game, whether that be through socializing, technology, not removing his or her hat, or some other way. Also, Armour points out that true patriots of the U.S. would be passionate to vote, yet an average of sixty percent of Americans vote during a presidential year ("Voter Turnout 101 - FairVote."). It is pretty clear that there is at least some mistreatment of blacks in this country and people point out the fact that Kaepernick's actions could be seen as disrespectful as a way to avoid these issues. It's much easier to criticize someone's perspective than to try and understand their perspective. As a white person in America, it is difficult to see the prejudice and mistreatment that others have to endure, sometimes making us blind or ignorant towards these problems.
In a time like this where the country is so divided, what makes America so special is the right be entitled to your own opinion. The only way to gain attention from the media and making a difference is by doing something outrageous like what these players have done. In the end, there may be an undertone of disrespect towards the military, however it is not their intention at all. They see, through first hand experiences, just how prejudiced american can be, and it pains them to see their country that they love so much behave in ways, that in their minds, are unacceptable. It is not un american to have a different opinion than someone else or to express that opinion. In fact, what is unamerican is attempting to silence the voice of an american citizen because you do not like what they have to say. It is that very right that we fought, are fighting, and will continue to fight for.
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