San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick declined to stand for the national anthem on Friday rather than "show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people." An "incredible backlash" was predicted, and has followed. The latest:
- The backlash isn't coming from the 49ers, which said in a statement, "We recognize the right of an individual to choose to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem."
- But one-time fans are showing their displeasure by burning Kaepernick jerseys and uploading footage of their fiery ire online. At SFGate, Katie Dowd thinks that's kind of dumb. "If you hate him so much, donate that jersey to Goodwill so someone can at least get use out of a perfectly good shirt."
- "How easily we forget," opinies Peter Wade at Esquire. He reminds those who are torching their jerseys of the "many athletes in the past who have not participated in the national anthem or other symbols of patriotism to highlight the problems with America." Among them: Muhammad Ali.
- Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, Al Saracevic calls Kaepernick's move a "noble thought." But the whole debacle has Saracevic pining for the Kaepernick of 2010, whose future seemed "impossibly bright" but who started to crumble in the face of media scrutiny and injuries. Ultimately, "Kaepernick’s protest feels misplaced, the latest in a string of incidents that point to poor judgment and a career gone wrong."
- That sound coming from USA Today is clapping. "More power to him," writes Jarrett Bell. "Kaepernick is 28. Malcolm X was 28 when he came out of prison with an evolving self-awareness. I’m twice that old but constantly working on self-awareness. And so is this nation, which Kaepernick shone a light on in his own way."
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