Former San Francisco 49s quarterback and current free agent Colin Kaepernick started the trend by kneeling during the national anthem last year as a form of protest against police violence. While some liberal-progressive Americans applauded him for taking a highly publicized stand on this important issue, many conservatives were disgusted at what they believed was a blatant sign of ungrateful disrespect for the American flag and everything that it stands for, including, as they pointed out, the so-called "American Dream" which made Kaepernick a wealthy sports star in the first place.
The US was already deeply divided over this stunt as people heatedly debated whether an athlete kneeling during the national anthem was the right way to draw attention to a cause, to say nothing of one such as police violence which all Americans were already well aware of anyhow due to the controversial street activities of "Black Lives Matter". All of a sudden, however, more and more athletes decided to follow Kaepernick's lead, defying the heavy public opposition to their activities and the threat of fans boycotting their events, which expectedly led to Trump sounding off about what he had to say about this during a political rally in Alabama. The President remarked — quote — "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b**ch off the field right now, out, he's fired. He's fired." — end quote.
And just like that, Trump poured fuel on what was already a national firestorm, though he and his surrogates defended his controversial words as protecting the flag from being disrespected by publicly hungry sports players. His opponents, however, saw it differently, and decided to play the race card in claiming that the President was calling Kaepernick a — quote — "son of a b**ch" — end quote — because he's half black. Others, though, noted how the whole scandal has now been diverted from its original purpose, which was to keep media attention on the issue of police violence, and that the hubbub over race and the American flag are making people forget why Kaepernick "took a knee" in the first place.
Andrew Korybko is joined by Janice Kortkamp, Anti-war American patriot, independent researcher, writer and activist with particular focus on Syria and the Middle East, and Joseph Davis, independent blogger based in Memphis, TN who runs the site jdavismemphis.com
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