One of the Best Things About America Is That Colin Kaepernick Can Sit During the National Anthem

National Anthem at a NFL football game, September 13, 2010. Photo via Flickr

I have no problem if people refuse to stand for the national anthem.

This is America, after all. One of the things which makes this place great, which inspires millions upon millions of people to voluntarily stand in respect during our national anthem, is that we don’t force people into unwilling displays of nationalism.

North Korea does that sort of thing. It looks like people standing in rows frightened at the prospect that their wailing at the death of their dictator might be deemed insufficiently dramatic:

I’m also reminded of an old story from the Stalin era of the Soviet Union about the dangers of being the first person to stop applauding.

We don’t live that way in America. Which is pretty awesome.

So I’m fine with San Francisco 49’ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick not wanting to stand for the national anthem. I’m rolling my eyes a bit at those calling for him to be cut from the team over it. I don’t know much about football, but it seems you could make a better case for cutting him by pointing out that he’s not that great of a quarterback.

But if we’re going to debate whether or not some random football player should stand for the national anthem, let me point out that Kaepernick’s case for it is…something less than compelling.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” says the person of color currently in year three of a six year, $144,000,000 contract to play football.

The America we’re living in simply doesn’t jibe with the America Kaepernick describes.

Which isn’t to say that America is perfect on race relations. Far from it. We are a nation still suffering from the grievous sins of the past (black slavery, the treatment of Native Americans, etc.) while we continue to make serious mistakes in the present (racial profiling in law enforcement, as one example).

Not helpful to our national conversation over these issues, though, is focusing on the insipid reasoning some pampered sports celebrity has for remaining seated during our national anthem.

So please stay seated if it suits you Mr. Kaepernick, but pardon me if I really don’t care.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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