I have been known to refer to Colin Kaepernick as Colin Kaeper”dick” and I have often pointed out the resemblance between him and Gonzo the puppet. I think he is a mediocre quarterback (now he can barely make his own team) who has, or had, the ego of an all-time great. I acknowledge its irrational to question the ego of someone who performs in the top 1% of their profession and is paid well for it, but I can’t stop it. Everyone in the NFL has an ego, it is impossible not to, but watching an athlete constantly pump themselves up is a turn off.

With all of the said, I  now respect Colin Kaepernick. He is at risk of getting cut from the 49ers due to his terrible play the past two seasons and reports reveal that he isn’t the greatest teammate. On Friday August 26th before a meaningless preseason game, he refused to stand during the national anthem.

He sat out of protest over the oppression of African Americans in the United States. He referenced the racist remarks made by Trump and Clinton in the past and multiple police shootings of unarmed black people. His goal was to shed more light on the issue and to use his fame to bring more attention and hopefully positive change.

He received attention.

Almost all of which was negative pointing out how un-American he is, how he is a rich NFL football player who hasn’t experienced the oppression he is fighting against. All of these horrendous remarks came his way because he didn’t stand up and put his hand on his chest while 100,000 people chanted a glorified cult song. Here is his explanation and response to backlash:

“I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening.

People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. That’s something that’s not happening.

I’ve seen circumstances where men and women that have been in the military have come back and been treated unjustly by the country they fought have for, and have been murdered by the country they fought for, on our land. That’s not right.”

How can that be argued with?

My thoughts on the national anthem have been made clear in my Dwyane Wade article from May. It is the weirdest and most outdated event that takes place before every sporting event in the United States. Its stated goal is to honor and celebrate the freedoms and opportunities our “great” country provides. I don’t think that it is a coincidence that the national anthem is sung and televised before every huge sporting event with tens of millions of people watching at home. Even the casual sports fan has the anthem and the image of everyone standing in unity singing a creepy song in their head. It is force feeding the idea in everyone’s mind that the United States is great, look at all of these people who feel the same way.

That blind nationalism and patriotism is frightening. Kaepernick has a valid social issue that he is protesting but since he did it during the holiest of holy songs, he is un-American. Sitting and refusing to take part in the national anthem because he is ashamed of the country that he currently resides is the most American thing I have ever seen an athlete do. That is the one beautiful aspect that our country still holds onto. You can talk shit about the U.S.A. and not be held criminally liable. He is using one of the most integral rights that those uneducated white Trump supporters apparently celebrate before every concussion fest that they watch.

If we use the national anthem to celebrate how perfect our country is before every sporting event, the only responsible thing to do is to sing a song about how destructive our country is immediately afterwards. A song about committing war crimes and violating the privacy rights of its citizens. Instead of flying fighter jets built by private contractors who lobbied their funding through a corrupt elected official, we should show images of slaves and an asylum seeking Edward Snowden. Only focusing on the positive and the “Merica, FUCK YEA!” aspects of our country, and broadcasting it to tens of millions of people is irresponsible and builds upon the blind nationalism that plagues this country.

Colin Kaepernick can be criticized for many things, but his right to sit during the peculiar brainwashing traditions our country has is not one of them.