Veterans are speaking out about Colin Kaepernick’s decision to remain seated during the national anthem with #VeteransForKaepernick.
After the San Francisco 49ers quarterback chose to sit down during the U.S. national anthem before all three preseason games to protest police brutality and unjust treatment of the black community in the U.S., Twitter users, along with fellow football players and fans, began sharing their thoughts.
While a great number of people see Kaepernick’s peaceful protest as his right as a citizen, others feel that Kaepernick’s actions are downright disrespectful to America and that dishonoring the flag is a serious insult to troops fighting for our country.
In a press conference following the preseason game against the Packers, Kaepernick made it clear that he means no disrespect to those fighting for our country by not standing during the National Anthem. “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,” he said.
Kaepernick further explained that even members of the military are susceptible to unjust treatment in our country. “… Ive seen videos, Ive seen circumstances where men and women that have been in the military have come back and been treated unjustly by the country they have fought for, and have been murdered by the country they fought for, on our land. Thats not right.”
On Tuesday evening, #VeteransForKaepernick began trending on Twitter and men and women who have served in the armed forces offered the player messages of support.
Many of the military personnel sharing their photographs to Twitter explained that they fight to protect American’s rights, such as the freedom of speech and peaceful protest, both of which Kaepernick are exercising. Furthermore, they emphasized that they do what they do to defend unjust treatment of others, which is exactly what Kaepernick is protesting.
Several veterans also called attention to the fact that police brutality should not be swept under the rug. “People dont realize whats really going on in this country. There are a lot things that are going on that are unjust,” Kaepernick said in a press conference. “People arent being held accountable for [these problems]. And thats something that needs to change. Thats something that this country stands for freedom, liberty and justice for all. And its not happening for all right now.”
The next 49ers preseason game will be played on Thursday, Sept. 1 in San Diego against the Chargers. According to the Chargers’ website, the game will be the 28th Annual Salute to the Military, which pays “tribute to hundreds of thousands of current and retired military personnel who live and work in San Diego.”
In past years, the game has drawn a large crowd of military personnel and veterans. This year, six Vietnam War veterans will be honored during halftime with a “patriotic fireworks show” as a remembrance of the 50th anniversary of the war.